Necessity of new tools for study of geomagnetic response to solar wind / IMF driving

The interaction between the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere is the main driver of many of the processes and phenomena occurring in the magnetosphere and ionosphere. Progress in understanding and even monitoring these and other time-varying processes in space physics is hampered by the lack of convenient tools for their characterization.

Magnetic disturbances on the ground, being the images of bursty processes of solar-wind/magnetosphere interaction, can be better monitored in the time domain, by comparing time-series of magnetic records on satellites and on the ground. However, a serious drawback of the analysis of ground-based magnetograms is the inevitable variation of the magnetic response due to continual changes of the station location regarding the direction of the solar wind flow. An ideal, but impossible, solution of this difficulty would be the deployment of a “stationary” in situ observatory with a fixed position in the solar-magnetospheric coordinate system. This will help to discriminate temporal and spatial variations. However, the desired result can be obtained with a “virtual” magnetometer.

The database of virtual magnetograms (VM) for the ionospheric projections of key magnetospheric domains, such as the dayside cusp and midnight auroral oval, will facilitate enormously the quick-look analysis, event selection, and study of the ground response to various space weather events. The VM database will be an effective tool complementary to AMIE for investigations of the ionospheric response to IMF variations.