TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 65 (No. 5), pp. 385-396, 2013

On the coupling of fast and shear Alfvén wave modes by the ionospheric Hall conductance

C. L. Waters1, R. L. Lysak2, and M. D. Sciffer1

1School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
2School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

(Received April 3, 2012; Revised July 24, 2012; Accepted August 24, 2012; Online published June 10, 2013)

Abstract: There are two low frequency, magnetised, cold plasma wave modes that propagate through the Earth's magnetosphere. These are the compressional (fast) and the shear Alfvén modes. The fast mode distributes energy throughout the magnetosphere with the ability to propagate across the magnetic field. Previous studies of coupling between these two modes have often focussed on conditions necessary for mode coupling to occur in the magnetosphere. However, Kato and Tamao (1956) predicted mode coupling would occur for non-zero Hall currents. Recently, the importance of the Hall conductance in the ionosphere for low frequency wave propagation has been studied using one dimensional (1-D) models. In this paper we describe effects of the ionosphere Hall conductance on field line resonance and higher frequency, 0.1-5 Hz waves associated with the Ionospheric Alfvén Resonator (IAR). The Hall conductance reduces the damping time of field line resonances and Joule dissipation into the ionosphere. The Hall conductance also couples shear Alfvén waves trapped in the IAR to fast mode waves that propagate across the ambient magnetic field in an ionospheric waveguide. This coupling leads to the production of low frequency magnetic fields on the ground that can be observed by magnetometers.
Key words: ULF waves, Hall current, ionosphere.

Corresponding author E-mail: colin.waters@newcastle.edu.au

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