Impact angle control of interplanetary shock geoeffectiveness

Academic Article


  • We use OpenGGCM global MHD simulations to study the nightside magnetospheric, magnetotail, and ionospheric responses to interplanetary (IP) fa st forward shocks. Three cases are presented in this study: two inclined oblique shocks, here after IOS-1 and IOS-2, where the latter has a Mach number twice stronger than the former. Both shocks have impact angles of 30$^o$ in relation to the Sun-Earth line. Lastly, we choose a frontal perpendicular shock, FPS, whose shock normal is along the Sun-Earth line, with the same Mach number as IOS-1. We find that, in the IOS-1 case, due to the north-south asymmetry, the magnetotail is deflected southward, leading to a mild compression. The geomagnetic activity observed in the nightside ionosphere is then weak. On the other hand, in the head-on case, the FPS compresses the magnetotail from both sides symmetrically. This compression triggers a substorm allowing a larger amount of stored energy in the magnetotail to be released to the nightside ionosphere, resulting in stronger geomagnetic activity. By comparing IOS-2 and FPS, we find that, despite the IOS-2 having a larger Mach number, the FPS leads to a larger geomagnetic response in the nightside ionosphere. As a result, we conclude that IP shocks with similar upstream conditions, such as magnetic field, speed, density, and Mach number, can have different geoeffectiveness, depending on their shock normal orientation.
  • Authors

  • Oliveira, DM
  • Raeder, Joachim
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2014
  • Published In


  • interplanetary shocks
  • reconnection
  • shock geometry
  • substorms
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 8188
  • End Page

  • 8201
  • Volume

  • 119
  • Issue

  • 10