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Cross-Scale Quantification of Storm-Time Dayside Magnetospheric Magnetic Flux Content

A clear understanding of storm-time magnetospheric dynamics is essential for a reliable storm forecasting capability. The dayside magnetospheric response to an interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME; dynamic pressure Pdyn > 20 nPa and storm-time index SYM-H < −150 nT) is investigated using in situ OMNI, Geotail, Cluster, MMS, GOES, Van Allen Probes, and THEMIS measurements. The dayside magnetic flux content is directly quantified from in situ magnetic field measurements at different radial distances. The arrival of the ICME, consisting of shock and sheath regions preceding a magnetic cloud, initiated a storm sudden commencement (SSC) phase (SYM-H ~ +50 nT). At SSC, the magnetopause standoff distance was compressed earthward at ICME shock encounter at an average rate ~−10.8 Earth radii per hour for ~10 min, resulting in a rapid 40\% reduction in the magnetospheric volume. The “closed” magnetic flux content remained constant at 170 ± 30 kWb inside the compressed dayside magnetosphere, even in the presence of dayside reconnection, as evident by an outsized flux transfer event containing 160 MWb. During the storm main and recovery phases, the magnetosphere expanded. The dayside magnetic flux did not remain constant within the expanding magnetosphere (110 ± 30 kWb), resulting in a 35\% reduction in pre-storm flux content during the magnetic cloud encounter. At that stage, the magnetospheric magnetic flux was eroded resulting in a weakened dayside magnetospheric field strength at radial distances R ≥ 5 RE. It is concluded that the inadequate replenishment of the eroded dayside magnetospheric flux during the magnetosphere expansion phase is due to a time lag in storm-time Dungey cycle.

Akhavan-Tafti, M.; Fontaine, D.; Slavin, J.; Le Contel, O.; Turner, D.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2020

YEAR: 2020     DOI:

interplanetary coronal mass ejection; magnetic flux quantification; cross-scale observations; flux transfer event; Dungey cycle; Geomagnetic storm; Van Allen Probes