Intermediate-m ULF waves generated by substorm injection: a case study

A case study of SuperDARN observations of Pc5 Alfvén ULF wave activity generated in the immediate aftermath of a modest-intensity substorm expansion phase onset is presented. Observations from the Hankasalmi radar reveal that the wave had a period of 580 s and was characterized by an intermediate azimuthal wave number (m=13), with an eastwards phase propagation. It had a significant poloidal component and a rapid equatorward phase propagation (~62° per degree of latitude). The total equatorward phase variation over the wave signatures visible in the radar field-of-view exceeded the 180° associated with field line resonances. The wave activity is interpreted as being stimulated by recently-injected energetic particles. Specifically the wave is thought to arise from an eastward drifting cloud of energetic electrons in a similar fashion to recent theoretical suggestions (Mager and Klimushkin, 2008; Zolotukhina et al., 2008; Mager et al., 2009). The azimuthal wave number m is determined by the wave eigenfrequency and the drift velocity of the source particle population. To create such an intermediate-m wave, the injected particles must have rather high energies for a given L-shell, in comparison to previous observations of wave events with equatorward polarization. The wave period is somewhat longer than previous observations of equatorward-propagating events. This may well be a consequence of the wave occurring very shortly after the substorm expansion, on stretched near-midnight field lines characterised by longer eigenfrequencies than those involved in previous observations.




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