High Latitude Electrodynamics,
AIR FORCE GEOPHYSICS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA
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The last five years has been marked by rapid advancements in our understanding of electric fields in near-earth space. In no small part these advances have resulted from simultaneous measurements of electric fields and charged particle fluxes by polar orbiting satellites above the high-latitude ionosphere. The measurements provide new evidence concerning the nature of large-scale magnetospheric convection and small scale processes leading to the field-aligned acceleration of auroral electrons. This paper reviews observational evidences for the existence of parallel electric fields and several steady state, theoretical mechanisms by which these electric fields are sustained. Some implications of the existence of parallel electric fields for global magnetospheric modelling are also considered.
- Atmospheric Physics