Timescales of Birkeland Currents Driven by the IMF

John C. Coxon*, Robert M. Shore, Mervyn P. Freeman, Robert C. Fear, Stephen D. Browett, Andrew W. Smith, Daniel K. Whiter, Brian J. Anderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


We obtain current densities from the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE), alongside By and Bz from the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) for March 2010. For each AMPERE spatial coordinate, we cross-correlate current density with By and Bz, finding the maximum correlation for lags up to 360 min. The patterns of maximum correlation contain large-scale structures consistent with the literature. For the correlation with By, the lags on the dayside are 10 min at high latitudes but up to 240 min at lower latitudes. Lags on the nightside are 90–150 min. For Bz, the shortest lags on the dayside are 10–20 min; on the equatorward edge of the current oval, 60–90 min; and on the nightside, predominantly 90–150 min. This novel approach enables us to see statistically the timescales on which information is electrodynamically communicated to the ionosphere after magnetic field lines reconnect on the dayside and nightside.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7893-7901
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
Early online date24 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


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