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Joint observations by Cluster satellites of bursty bulk flows in the magnetotail

Joint observations by Cluster satellites of bursty bulk flows in the magnetotail

Publication date: 08 April 2006

Authors: Cao, J.B. et al.

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 111
Issue: A04
Year: 2006

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

Using the observations of three satellites of Cluster (C1, C3, and C4) during the periods July to October 2001 and July to October 2002, we study 209 active time bursty bulk flows (BBFs), the difference between single satellite observations and multisatellite observations, and the difference among three selection criteria (two about BBFs and one about rapid convection event). Single satellite observations show that the average duration of BBFs selected by the criterion of Angelopoulos et al. is 604 s, while multisatellite observations show that the average duration of BBFs is 1105 s. Single satellite sometimes misses the BBFs. The missing ratio of single satellite is 22.4% for the criterion of Angelopoulos et al. and 44.9 % for the criterion of Raj et al. Therefore the single satellite observations cannot tell the true number of BBFs. The multisatellite observations are more important for the criterion of Raj et al. The single satellite observations also show that 22% of substorms are not accompanied by BBFs, while multisatellite observations show that only 4.5% of substorms are not accompanied by BBFs. Thus it seems possible that all substorms are accompanied by BBFs. The occurrence frequency of RCEs in the central plasma sheet obtained by multisatellites is 12.2%. The occurrence frequency of BBFs in the central plasma sheet is 9.5% for single satellite observations and 19.4% for multisatellite observations. So BBFs may contribute more to the transport of magnetic flux, mass, and energy than what was estimated by previous studies based on single satellite observations.

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