EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring the plasmapause dynamics at LEO

Balázs Heilig1,2, Claudia Stolle3,4, Jan Rauberg3, and Guram Kervalishvili3
Balázs Heilig et al.
  • 1Magyar Bányászati és Földtani Szolgálat, Budapest, Hungary (
  • 2Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Geophysics and Space Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
  • 3GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 4University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

In the past decades researchers have revealed links between a series of sub-auroral ionospheric phenomena and the plasmapause (PP) dynamics, such as the mid-latitude ionospheric trough (MIT) and the associated sub-auroral temperature enhancement (SETE), the light-ion trough (LIT), the sub-auroral ion drift (SAID) or the more intense sub-auroral polarisation stream (SAPS), and most recently, the inner boundary of small-scale field-aligned currents (SSFACs). Most of these phenomena can be directly observed by the Swarm constellation of ESA at LEO. Thus, Swarm presents a unique opportunity to study the relations between them and also their relation to the PP dynamics.

In a recent Swarm DISC project, PRISM (Plasmapause Related boundaries in the topside Ionosphere as derived from Swarm Measurements), three new products have been developed. Two products characterise the MIT (and the associated SETE). The MITx_LP utilises the Langmuir probe measurements of electron density and temperature, while the MITxTEC product derives the MIT properties from GPS TEC observations. The third product, PPIxFAC provides information on the location and the main characteristics of the equatorial boundary of SSFACs, and it also includes a proxy for the location of the PP at MLT midnight.

In this presentation we introduce the above Swarm L2 products, present the results of a comparative study aiming at revealing their mutual relations and also their dynamic coupling to the PP. Then we demonstrate how the observations of all these ionospheric phenomena combined can be used to develop an improved proxy for monitoring the PP dynamics at LEO as one of the goals of our new ESA-funded project PLASMA.

How to cite: Heilig, B., Stolle, C., Rauberg, J., and Kervalishvili, G.: Monitoring the plasmapause dynamics at LEO, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15733,, 2021.

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