Conjectured chaotic nature of the ionosphere-magnetosphere coupling in a reconfigurating magnetosphere
- Space Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Bartycka 18A, 00716 Warsaw, Poland
Abstract. During substorms the magnetic field configuration changes in time; stretching of the magnetosphere during growth phase is followed by its collapse after the onset of the expansion phase. In this study the ionospheric origin oxygen ion dynamics in a time-dependent magnetosphere is analyzed. An induction electric field of several mV/m due to the reconfigurating magnetic field determines the details of the ion extraction from the auroral topside ionosphere. Two regimes of motion are discernible; a regime in regions far from the equatorial plane where the magnetic moment is conserved and a regime near the equatorial plane, in which the motion produces magnetic moment jumps and oscillations. The time spent by the ion in the regions is determined by the initial characteristics of the ion and by the field transition features. Lyapunov characteristic exponents are calculated to estimate the sensitivity of the system to initial conditions. Their values are higher for orbits with chaotic segments compared with the orbits in the static magnetic field and depend on the amplitude of the induced electric field. It follows from the study that the region of chaos usually localized far beyond 10 RE in the plasma sheet is expected to approach closer to the Earth ( r = 6 - 7 RE) during substorm associated reconfigurations of the magnetosphere, due to the auroral ionospheric ions.