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Special issue “The 12th International Conference on Substorms”

The 12th International Conference on Substorms (ICS-12) was held at the Ise-Shima Royal Hotel in Shima, Japan, on November 10–14, 2014. There were 125 attendees including 68 from foreign countries. The ICS has been held every 2 years since 1992 to discuss substorms, which are fundamental global-scale disturbances in the Earth’s magnetosphere. The year 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the first publication about substorms (Akasofu 1964). The conference included three tutorial lecturers (Profs. S.-I. Akasofu, V. Angelopoulous, and D. Baker), as well as many international scientists, to discuss substorm processes in the tail, their interactions with the inner magnetosphere and the ionosphere, substorm currents and their dynamics and energetics, the role of MagnetoHydroDynamics (MHD) and kinetic instabilities, storm–substorm relationships, ULF/ELF/VLF waves, and non-Earth substorm-like features. Prof. Akasofu also gave an evening talk about the history of auroral research since the nineteenth century with photographs that inspired and intrigued the young scientists and students in attendance.

This special issue presents 16 papers from the ICS-12 presentations. The topics and related papers are: control of magnetospheric conditions by solar wind parameters (Kubyshkina et al. 2015; Sergeev et al. 2015; Troshichev and Sormakov 2015), modeling of reconnection and instabilities in the tail (Birn et al. 2015; Pritchett 2015; Uchino and Machida 2015), relationships between relativistic electrons and pulsations in the inner magnetosphere (Antonova and Stepanova 2015; Hajra et al. 2015; Teramoto et al. 2016), the effects of substorms on ionospheric irregularities and currents (Berngardt et al. 2015; Cherniak and Zakharenkova 2015; Connors and Rostoker 2015), auroral disturbances during substorms (Antonova et al. 2015; Connors et al. 2015; Tanaka et al. 2015), and ground magnetometer chains (Connors et al. 2016). In addition, a review paper by Akasofu (2015) based on his presentation at ICS-12 was published in Progress in Earth and Planetary Science. These papers provide a comprehensive overview of recent progress in research related to substorms from solar wind to the ionosphere. We hope that these publications provide resources for the understanding of the various physical processes that occur in the magnetosphere and ionosphere during substorms.


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  2. Akasofu S-I (2015) Auroral substorms as an electrical discharge phenomenon. Progress Earth Planet Sci 2:20. doi:10.1186/s40645-015-0050-9

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  3. Antonova EE, Stepanova MV (2015) The problem of the acceleration of electrons of the outer radiation belt and magnetospheric substorms. Earth Planets Space 67:148. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0319-7

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  4. Antonova EE, Vorobjev VG, Kirpichev IP, Yagodkina OI, Stepanova MV (2015) Problems with mapping the auroral oval and magnetospheric substorms. Earth Planets Space 67:166. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0336-6

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  5. Berngardt OI, Zolotukhina NA, Oinats AV (2015) Observations of field-aligned ionospheric irregularities during quiet and disturbed conditions with EKB radar: first results. Earth Planets Space 67:143. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0302-3

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  6. Birn J, Liu Y, Daughton W, Hesse M, Schindler K (2015) Reconnection and interchange instability in the near magnetotail. Earth Planets Space 67:110. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0282-3

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  7. Cherniak I, Zakharenkova I (2015) Dependence of the high-latitude plasma irregularities on the auroral activity indices: a case study of 17 March 2015 geomagnetic storm. Earth Planets Space 67:151. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0316-x

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  8. Connors M, Rostoker G (2015) Inverting magnetic meridian data using nonlinear optimization. Earth Planets Space 67:155. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0315-y

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  9. Connors M, Russell CT, Chu X, McPherron RL (2015) The February 24, 2010 substorm: a refined view involving a pseudobreakup/expansive phase/poleward boundary intensification sequence. Earth Planets Space 67:195. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0363-3

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  10. Connors M, Schofield I, Reiter K, Chi PJ, Rowe KM, Russell CT (2016) The AUTUMNX magnetometer meridian chain in Québec, Canada. Earth Planets Space 68:2. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0354-4

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  11. Hajra R, Tsurutani BT, Echer E, Gonzalez WD, Brum CGM, Vieira LEA, Santolik O (2015) Relativistic electron acceleration during HILDCAA events: are precursor CIR magnetic storms important? Earth Planets Space 67:109. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0280-5

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  12. Kubyshkina M, Tsyganenko N, Semenov V, Kubyshkina D, Partamies N, Gordeev E (2015) Further evidence for the role of magnetotail current shape in substorm initiation. Earth Planets Space 67:139. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0304-1

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  13. Pritchett PL (2015) Reconnection flow jets in 3D as a source of structured dipolarization fronts. Earth Planets Space 67:103. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0264-5

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  14. Sergeev VA, Dmitrieva NP, Stepanov NA, Sormakov DA, Angelopoulos V, Runov AV (2015) On the plasma sheet dependence on solar wind and substorms and its role in magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. Earth Planets Space 67:133. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0296-x

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  15. Tanaka Y, Ogawa Y, Kadokura A, Partamies N, Whiter D, Enell CF, Brändström U, Sergienko T, Gustavsson B, Kozlovsky A, Miyaoka H, Yoshikawa A (2015) Eastward-expanding auroral surges observed in the post-midnight sector during a multiple-onset substorm. Earth Planets Space 67:182. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0350-8

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  16. Teramoto M, Nishitani N, Nishimura Y, Nagatsuma T (2016) Latitudinal dependence on the frequency of Pi2 pulsations near the plasmapause using THEMIS satellites and Asian-Oceanian SuperDARN radars. Earth Planets Space 68:22. doi:10.1186/s40623-016-0397-1

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  17. Troshichev OA, Sormakov DA (2015) PC index as a proxy of the solar wind energy that entered into the magnetosphere: 2. Relation to the interplanetary electric field EKL before substorm onset. Earth Planets Space 67:170. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0338-4

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  18. Uchino H, Machida S (2015) Full-particle simulations of instabilities in a thin current sheet of the magnetospheric system prior to substorm onset. Earth Planets Space 67:165. doi:10.1186/s40623-015-0335-7

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Authors’ contributions

All authors of this article served as the guest editors for this special issue. KS prepared this preface with the agreement of the other authors. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


We thank the members of the science organizing committee for ICS 12, the conference participants, and especially the authors of the papers in this special issue. We are grateful to the referees who served to evaluate the contributions and gave helpful comments and suggestions. We also express our sincere appreciation and deep sorrow for the demise of late Olaf Amm, who was initially a guest editor for this special issue, and made various helpful comments and suggestions as a member of the science organizing committee, but who passed away on December 16, 2014, 1 month after ICS-12.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Kazuo Shiokawa.

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Shiokawa, K., Fok, M. & Fujimoto, M. Special issue “The 12th International Conference on Substorms”. Earth Planet Sp 68, 87 (2016).

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  • Physical Process
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Recent Progress