On the influence of open magnetic flux on substorm intensity: Ground- and space-based observations


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American Geophysical Union


Using the location of maximum region 1 current determined by the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment as a proxy for the open/closed field line boundary, we monitor the evolution of the amount of open magnetic flux inside the magnetosphere during 772 substorms. We then divide all substorms into three classes, depending on the amount of open flux at expansion phase onset. Studying the temporal variations during the substorms of each class for a number of related geophysical parameters, we find that substorms occurring while the amount of open flux is large are generally more intense. By intense we mean that the auroral electrojet, region 1 current, auroral brightness, tail dipolarization and flow speed, ground magnetic signatures, Pi2 wave power, as well as the intensity and extent of the substorm current wedge (SCW) are all larger than during substorms that occur on a contracted polar cap. The SCW manifests itself as an intensification of the nightside R1 and R2 current system after onset. Our analysis shows that to dispose of large amounts of accumulated open magnetic flux, large substorms are triggered in the terrestrial magnetosphere.



Substorms, Substorm current wedge, Field-aligned currents, Amperes, Open, Closed field line boundary, Field-aligned currents, Magnetospheric substorms, Birkeland currents, Systems, Onset, Magnetometers, Growth


Clausen, L. B. N., S. E. Milan, J. B. H. Baker, J. M. Ruohoniemi, K.-H. Glassmeier, J. C. Coxon, and B. J. Anderson (2013), On the influence of open magnetic flux on substorm intensity: ground- and space-based observations, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118, 2958-2969, doi:10.1002/jgra.50308.