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Multispacecraft Current Density Estimates in the Low- and Mid-Latitude F-Region Ionosphere Using the Swarm Constellation

Abstract : We present a new application of a multispacecraft method which provides estimates of the full electric current density vector in the ionospheric low- and mid-latitude F region. The method uses the three satellites of the Swarm constellation in configurations when they were close to each other. The current density is calculated inside triangular prisms defined by the satellite positions. The technique is inspired by similar approaches such as the curlometer. Here, we propose an alternative mathematical treatment, which involves the use of the well-known curl-B technique and a least squares minimization. The proposed formalism provides a rigorous way to propagate the errors through the problem and special care is taken to validate the algorithm and assess the relevance of the derived currents. Such techniques are powerful tools to study the F-region ionosphere currents as they naturally exclude all the other contributions outside the considered volumes. The F region is known to host currents with a complex spatiotemporal variability. Besides the intrinsic interest of this system itself, understanding the dynamics of these currents is also critical for global geomagnetic field modeling as they are an important source of error in the models. In this paper, we present the full algorithm and test the method on both synthetic and real Swarm satellite data on February 15, 2014. Several sources of error are investigated. Additionally, the results reveal expected characteristics of F-region interhemispheric field-aligned currents. Some new characteristics of F-region currents, potentially associated with dynamo and pressure currents, are also observed.
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Contributor : Nathalie POTHIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 4:50:05 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 11:10:07 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, June 4, 2022 - 7:48:06 PM


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M. Fillion, G. Hulot, P. Alken, A. Chulliat, P. Vigneron. Multispacecraft Current Density Estimates in the Low- and Mid-Latitude F-Region Ionosphere Using the Swarm Constellation. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, 2021, 126, pp. 434-438. ⟨10.1029/2020JA028872⟩. ⟨insu-03590037⟩



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