Simultaneous high- and low-latitude reconnection: ESR and DMSP observations

Pitout, F.; Newell, P. T.; Buchert, S. C.

We present EISCAT Svalbard Radar and DMSP observations of a double cusp during an interval of predominantly northward IMF on 26 November 2000. In the cusp region, the ESR dish, pointing northward, recorded sun-ward ionospheric flow at high latitudes (above 82° GL), indicating reconnection occuring in the magnetospheric lobe. Meanwhile, the same dish also recorded bursts of poleward flow, indicative of bursty reconnection at the subsolar magnetopause. Within this time interval, the DMSP F13 satellite passed in the close vicinity of the Svalbard archipelago. The particle measurement on board exhibited a double cusp structure in which two oppositely oriented ion dispersions are recorded. We interpret this set of data in terms of simultaneous merging at low- and high-latitude magnetopause. We discuss the conditions for which such simultaneous high-latitude and low-latitude reconnection can be anticipated. We also discuss the consequences of the presence of two X-lines in the dayside polar ionosphere.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (solar wind-magnetosphere interactions) – Ionosphere (polar ionosphere; plasma convection)

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Pitout, F. / Newell, P. T. / Buchert, S. C.: Simultaneous high- and low-latitude reconnection: ESR and DMSP observations. 2002. Copernicus Publications.

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