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Statistical characteristics of bursty bulk flow events

Statistical characteristics of bursty bulk flow events

Publication date: 15 November 1994

Authors: Angelopoulos, V. et al

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 99
Issue: A11
Page: 21,257-21,280
Year: 1994

Copyright: American Geophysical Union

Using a common methodology to analyze data from the Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorer/Ion Release Module (AMPTE/IRM) and International Sun-Earth Explorer 2 (ISEE 2) satellites we report on the statistical properties of bursty bulk flow events (BBFs) in the inner plasma sheet (IPS). A positive correlation between BBFs and the AE index suggests that BBFs are predominantly geomagnetically active time phenomena. Earthward BBFs are more frequent close to midnight and away from Earth, up to a distance of approximately 19 RE. Tailward BBFs are very infrequent in the IRM data set and somewhat less infrequent in the ISEE 2 data set in the region of the satellites' spatial overlap, possibly due to the more active conditions prevailing during the ISEE 2 mission in that region. However, in both data sets the ratio of tailward to earthward BBFs increases with distance from Earth; more than 20% of all BBFs are anti-sunward tailward of X = -19 RE in the ISEE 2 data set. BBFs are responsible for 60-100% of the measured earthward transport of mass, energy and magnetic flux past the satellite in the regions of maximum occurrence rate, even though they last approximately 10-15% of the IPS observation time there. Thus BBFs represent the primary transport mechanism at those regions. The one-to-one correspondence between BBFs and substorm phase, as well as the relative contribution of BBFs to the total transport observed during substorms are questions that await further investigation based on multi instrument studies of individual events.

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