This project will use data from the NSF-supported SuperMAG data center to address a number of topics related to magnetospheric substorms and the electric currents that are generated during substorms. The first task will be to develop magnetic indices that are similar to the AL and AU magnetic indices but that are based on approximately 100 stations rather than on the 12 stations used for the official AL, AU and AE indices. The new indices will then be used to identify the onset of substorms with greater accuracy than can be done using the traditional indices. The project will use energetic particle precipitation data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) to further refine that location and time of substorm onsets. A superposed epoch analysis will be used to effectively image the upward magnetic-field-aligned currents separately in each hemisphere. These data will then be used to examine how the interhemispheric current is affected by a variety of factors including the seasonal variations.
The project will produce new magnetic indices that will be made available to the space physics community and will also generate an improved database of substorm onsets that will also be made publicly available. A summer intern (undergraduate student) will be involved in the research project.