Balanced reconnection intervals: four case studies
During steady magnetospheric convection (SMC) events the magnetosphere is active, yet there are no data signatures of a large scale reconfiguration, such as a substorm. While this definition has been used for years it fails to elucidate the true physics that is occurring within the magnetosphere, which is that the dayside merging rate and the nightside reconnection rate balance. Thus, it is suggested that these events be renamed Balanced Reconnection Intervals (BRIs). This paper investigates four diverse BRI events that support the idea that new name for these events is needed. The 3–4 February 1998 event falls well into the classic definition of an SMC set forth by Sergeev et al. (1996), while the other challenge some previous notions about SMCs. The 15 February 1998 event fails to end with a substorm expansion and concludes as the magnetospheric activity slowly quiets. The third event, 22–23 December 2000, begins with a slow build up of magnetospheric activity, thus there is no initiating substorm expansion. The last event, 17 February 1998, is more active (larger AE, AL and cross polar cap potential) than previously studied SMCs. It also has more small scale activity than the other events studied here.