Auroral Energy Flux and Joule Heating Derived From Global Maps of Field-Aligned Currents
We calculate auroral energy flux and Joule heating in the high-latitude ionosphere for 27 geomagnetically active days using two-dimensional maps of field-aligned currents determined by the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Response Experiment. The energy input to the ionosphere due to Joule heating increases more rapidly with geomagnetic activity than that due to precipitating particles. The energy flux varies more smoothly with time than Joule heating, which is impulsive in nature on time scales from minutes to tens of minutes. These impulsive events correlate well with recoveries in the Sym-H index, with the maximum correlation when compared to Sym-H recoveries 70 min later. Because of prior studies that have associated transient recoveries of Sym-H with substorm expansions, the delay found here suggests that dissipation of energy in the ionosphere occurs during the substorm growth phase prior to the release of magnetic energy caused by diversion of tail currents.
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Geophysical Research Letters
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