A Comparison of Conjugate Auroral Electojet Indices
The auroral electrojet index (AE) is used as an indicator of geomagnetic activity at high latitudes representing the strength of auroral electrojet currents in the Northern polar ionosphere. A similar AE index for the Southern hemisphere is not available due to lack of complete coverage the Southern auroral zone (half of which extends over the ocean) with continuous magnetometer observations. While in general global auroral phenomena are expected to be conjugate, differences have been observed in the conjugate observations from the ground and from the Earth's satellites. These differences indicate a need for an equivalent Southern auroral geomagnetic activity index. The goal of this award is to create the Southern AE (SAE) index that would accurately reflect auroral activity in that hemisphere. With this index, it would be possible to investigate the similarities and the cause of differences between the SAE and "standard" AE index from the Northern hemisphere. It would also make it possible to identify when the SAE does not provide a reliable calculation of the Southern hemisphere activity, and to determine when it is statistically beneficial to consider the SAE index in addition to the standard AE while analyzing geospace data from the Northern and Southern polar regions. The study will address these questions by creating the SAE index and its "near-conjugate" NAE index from collected Antarctic magnetometer data, and will analyze variations in the cross-correlation of these indices and their differences as a function of geomagnetic activity, season, Universal Time, Magnetic Local Time, and interplanetary magnetic field and solar wind plasma parameters. The broader impact resulting from the proposed effort is in its importance to the worldwide geospace scientific community that currently uses only the standard AE index in a variety of geospace models as necessary input.
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