Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union
A new scenario for the formation of multiple polar cap arcs is proposed based on the results from a time‐dependent electrodynamic model of polar cap arcs developed by Zhu et al. . The results suggest that the appearance of multiple polar cap arcs may not be due to multiple structures in the magnetospheric source region, but instead, may primarily be determined by the coupled magnetosphere‐ionosphere system in which the ionosphere plays an active role. It was found that with the same magnetospheric driver, a strong ionospheric background convection and an ionospheric background Hall conductance in the range of from 0.5 to 1.5 mho favor the occurrence of multiple polar cap arcs. It was also found that the spacing between individual arcs is highly correlated with the ratio of the enhanced Hall and Pedersen conductances (i.e., the hardness of the primary magnetospheric precipitation), which is allowed to vary in the model runs. A harder precipitation causes a wider spacing. In the modelings, the spacing ranged from about 20 kilometers to about 60 kilometers when the precipitation hardness increased.
Zhu, L., J. J. Sojka, R. W. Schunk, and D. J. Crain (1994), Model study of multiple polar cap arcs: Occurrence and spacing, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21(8), 649–652, doi:10.1029/94GL00562.