EGU22-6366
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-6366
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Uncertainty in solar wind propagation may explain polar cap potential saturation

Nithin Sivadas1, David Sibeck1, Varsha Subramanyan2, Maria-Theresia Walach3, Kyle Murphy4, and Alexa Halford5
Nithin Sivadas et al.
  • 1Space Weather Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA (nithin@bu.edu)
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA
  • 3Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • 4Independent Contractor, Thunder Bay, Canada
  • 5ITM Physics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

The polar cap potential, a measure of the magnetosphere's response to the solar wind, levels off during high solar wind electric field values. Several explanations have been proposed for this saturation effect, but there has been no consensus. We show that the saturation may merely be a perception created by uncertainty in the solar wind measurements and its propagation to the polar cap. Correcting this uncertainty reveals a true response that is linear across the full range of the solar wind electric field values. These findings indicate that extreme space weather events can elicit a larger impact on Earth than we'd expect if the polar cap potential were to saturate.

How to cite: Sivadas, N., Sibeck, D., Subramanyan, V., Walach, M.-T., Murphy, K., and Halford, A.: Uncertainty in solar wind propagation may explain polar cap potential saturation, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6366, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-6366, 2022.

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