Open Access

A significant mass density increase during a large magnetic storm in October 2003 obtained by ground-based ULF observations at L ≈ 1.4

Earth, Planets and Space200658:BF03351959

Received: 19 July 2005

Accepted: 1 December 2005

Published: 12 May 2006


During 28–31 October, 2003, a series of coronal mass ejections hit the magnetosphere and triggered two consecutive large storms. Three ground magnetometers at L = 1.32–1.41 recorded field-line resonances (FLRs) during this interval. The FLR frequencies decreased from 0600 LT on 31 October 2003 during the main phase of the second storm until 12 LT when the recovery phase of this storm began. After the decrease, the FLR frequencies returned to its pre-storm value (at 0600 LT on 31 Oct.) in a few hours. The measured decrease in the FLR frequency suggests a relative increase in mass density along the field lines during the magnetic storm. On the other hand, the total electron content (TEC) data suggest that the ionospheric plasma number density during this storm was similar to that during quiet times. A possible explanation for the increase in mass density would be an outflow of the heavy ions (e.g., O+) from the ionosphere to the plasmasphere.

Key words

Plasmasphere magnetic storms remote sensing ionosphere/magnetosphere interactions