On the association of quiet-time Pi2 pulsations with IMF variations

Ching Chang Cheng, Christopher T. Russell, Jih Hong Shue

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The association of quiet-time Pi2 pulsations with the variations of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) has been examined by using three reported events, occurring during extremely quiet intervals, of which the first was on 10 March 1997, the second 27 December 1997, and the third 11 May 1999. For the first event, the onset time of ground Pi2s maps to the IMF structure bearing a variation cycle of north-to-south and north again as seen by Wind in the upstream region and Geotail in the magnetosheath. Likewise, the second and the third events have respectively, four and three recurrent turnings propagating to the Earth sensed by multiple satellites. The comparison of geomagnetic perturbations, auroral brightenings, and energetic particle data in the magnetotail with the IMF observations shows successive substorm-like activations accompanied by ground Pi2 onsets. For a clear variation cycle, the first Pi2 burst appears 36 ± 8 min after southward turning of the IMF and the second one follows14 ± 4 min after a northward turning. Moreover, ground Pi2 onsets recur under low IMF clock angle conditions. These observational results can be interpreted with the prevailing models of externally triggered substorm. But the solar wind coupling to the magnetosphere under quiet conditions proceeds in a less efficient way than under substorm time conditions. Consequently, we suggest that recurrent quiet-time Pi2s can be associated with IMF variations and their cause can be the same as those for substorm times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1118-1129
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • Auroral brightenings
  • Clock angle
  • IMF variations
  • Northward turning
  • Pi2 pulsations
  • Substorm


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