2011 SuperDARN Workshop
Solar Sector Structure Correlations with SuperDARN Saskatoon Radar and EISCAT Svalbard Radar Data
D. Huyghebaert and K. McWilliams
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
abstract. The Sun produces an electromagnetic plasma (the solar wind) and a magnetic field that permeates the solar system. This interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) has a large radial component that influences processes in the Earth's space environment. During its orbit the Earth finds itself in sectors of IMF that are predominantly towards or away from the Sun. The solar sector structure (structure of the IMF) has been shown in previous studies to be correlated with atmospheric weather phenomena (Wilcox 1979). By finding connections between the solar sector structure and the magnetosphere/ionosphere, we can better understand the coupling mechanism between the space environment and the Earth's atmosphere. Fairfield and Scudder (1985) have shown previously a process by which the solar wind plasma can directly reach the Earth's upper atmosphere. The plasma is injected into the northern or southern hemisphere, depending on the solar sector structure (aways or towards). In a pr evious study, a very clear correlation in the number of HF radar echoes measured in the ionosphere by the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) radars and the solar sector structure was found. During ?toward? sectors, more echoes were received, and during ?away? sectors, fewer echoes were received. The present study includes IMF and solar wind information from the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite and ionospheric data from a SuperDARN radar and the Svalbard Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR). A periodic correlation was found between the solar sector structure and the electron density measured by the Svalbard ISR during the International Polar Year, as well as between the solar sector structure and the amount of groundscatter detected by the SuperDARN radar. These results could be important in finding a link between space weather and atmospheric weather.