Modeling sub-auroral polarization streams (SAPS) during the March 17, 2013 storm

TitleModeling sub-auroral polarization streams (SAPS) during the March 17, 2013 storm
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsYu, Y, Jordanova, V, Zou, S, Heelis, R, Ruohoniemi, M, Wygant, J
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published02/2015
Keywordssub-auroral polarization streams; Van Allen Probes
AbstractThe sub-auroral polarization streams (SAPS) are one of the most important features in representing magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling processes. In this study, we use a state-of-the-art modeling framework that couples an inner magnetospheric ring current model RAM-SCB with a global MHD model BATS-R-US and an ionospheric potential solver to study the SAPS that occurred during the March 17, 2013 storm event as well as to assess the modeling capability. Both ionospheric and magnetospheric signatures associated with SAPS are analyzed to understand the spatial and temporal evolution of the electrodynamics in the mid-latitude regions. Results show that the model captures the SAPS at sub-auroral latitudes, where Region-2 field-aligned currents (FACs) flow down to the ionosphere and the conductance is lower than in the higher-latitude auroral zone. Comparisons to observations such as FACs observed by AMPERE, cross-track ion drift from DMSP, and in-situ electric field observations from the Van Allen Probes indicate that the model generally reproduces the global dynamics of the Region-2 FACs, the position of SAPS along the DMSP, and the location of the SAPS electric field around L of 3.0 in the inner magnetosphere near the equator. While the model demonstrates double westward flow channels in the dusk sector (the higher-latitude auroral convection and the sub-auroral SAPS) and captures the mechanism of the SAPS, the comparison with ion drifts along DMSP trajectories shows an underestimate of the magnitude of the SAPS and the sensitivity to the specific location and time. The comparison of the SAPS electric field with that measured from the Van Allen Probes shows that the simulated SAPS electric field penetrates deeper than in reality, implying that the shielding from the Region-2 FACs in the model is not well represented. Possible solutions in future studies to improve the modeling capability include implementing a self-consistent ionospheric conductivity module from particle precipitation, coupling with the thermosphere-ionosphere chemical processes, and connecting the ionosphere with the inner magnetosphere by the stronger Region-2 FACs calculated in the inner magnetosphere model.
URLhttp://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/2014JA020371
DOI10.1002/2014JA020371
Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res. Space Physics


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