Skip to main content


Substorm time scales from polar cap convection measurements

Article metrics

  • 201 Accesses

  • 4 Citations


A recent study by Jayachandran et al. (Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 2064, 2003) reported repeated and detectable changes in the polar cap convection associated with substorms. We report here our use of ionospheric convection measurements to determine the time scales of growth, expansion, and recovery/reconfiguration associated with the substorms. The average time scales, determined from polar cap convection, associated with growth, expansion, and recovery are 31.6, 22.4, and 38.8 min, respectively. A comparison of the growth and expansion time scales determined from the convection measurements with those determined from the geosynchronous satellite measurements revealed interesting differences. The growth time scale determined from the ionospheric convection measurement is smaller than that of the time scale determined from geosynchronous measurements, whereas the expansion time scale determined using the ionospheric convection is much larger than that of the time scale determined using the geosynchronous measurements. The implications of the results in the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere (M-I) coupling are discussed.


  1. Akasofu, S.-I., The development of the auroral substorms, Planet. Space Sci., 12, 273, 1964.

  2. Banks, P. M., Magnetospheric processes and the behavior of the neutral atmosphere, Space Res., 12, 1051, 1972.

  3. Chua, D., G. Parks, M. Brittnacher, G. Germany, and J. Spann, Auroral substorm time scales: IMF and seasonal variations, J. Geophys. Res., 109, A03207, doi:10.1029/2003JA009951, 2004.

  4. Jayachandran, P. T., J. W. MacDougall, E. F. Donovan, J. M. Ruohoniemi, K. Liou, D. R. Moorcroft, and J.-P. St-Maurice, Substorm associated changes in high-latitude ionospheric convection, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(20), 2064, doi:10.1029/2003GL017497, 2003.

  5. Kawano, H., G. Le, C. T. Russell, G. Rostoker, M. J. Brittnacher, and G. K. Parks, Substorm-time magnetic field perturbations in the polar magnetosphere: Polar pbservations, Earth Planets Space, 54, 963, 2002.

  6. MacDougall, J. W. and P. T. Jayachandran, Polar cap convection relationship with solar wind, Rad. Sci., 36(6), 1869, 2001.

  7. Weimer, D. R., Substorm time constants, J. Geophys. Res., 99(6), 11,005, 1994.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to P. T. Jayachandran.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jayachandran, P.T., MacDougall, J.W. Substorm time scales from polar cap convection measurements. Earth Planet Sp 59, e29–e32 (2007) doi:10.1186/BF03352026

Download citation

Key words

  • Magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions
  • plasma convection
  • polar cap phenomena
  • storms and substorms
  • polar ionosphere