SECS Analysis of Nighttime Magnetic Perturbation Events Observed in Arctic Canada

James M. Weygand, Mark J. Engebretson, Viacheslav A. Pilipenko, Erik S. Steinmetz, Mark B. Moldwin, Martin G. Connors, Yukitoshi Nishimura, Larry R. Lyons, Christopher T. Russell, Shin Ichi Ohtani, Jesper Gjerloev

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Large changes of the magnetic field associated with magnetic perturbation events (MPEs) with amplitudes |ΔB| of hundreds of nT and 5–10 min duration have been frequently observed within a few hours of midnight. This study compares the statistical location of nighttime MPEs with |dB/dt| ≥ 6 nT/s within the auroral current system observed during 2015 and 2017 at two stations, Cape Dorset and Kuujjuarapik, in Eastern Canada. Maps of the two dimensional nightside auroral current system were derived using the Spherical Elementary Current Systems (SECS) technique. Analyses were produced at each station for all events, and for premidnight and postmidnight subsets. We examine four MPE intervals in detail, two accompanied by auroral images, and show the varying associations between MPEs and overhead ionospheric current systems including electrojets and the field-aligned like currents. We find 225 of 279 MPEs occurred within the westward electrojet and only 3 within the eastward electrojet. For the premidnight MPEs 100 of 230 events occurred within the Harang current system while many of the remainder occurred within either the downward region 1 current system or the upward region 2 current system. Many of the 49 postmidnight MPEs occurred in either the downward region 1 (11 events) or upward region 2 current system (27 events). These result suggest that the source of MPEs in the premidnight sector is somewhere between the inner to mid plasma sheet and the source for the MPEs in the postmidnight sector is somewhere between the inner magnetosphere and the inner plasma sheet.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021JA029839
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov. 2021


  • ground magnetometer data
  • ionospheric currents
  • magnetic perturbation events
  • spherical elementary currents
  • substorms


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