A circuit analogy for magnetosphere-ionosphere current systems has two extremes for driversof ionospheric currents: ionospheric elec tric ﬁelds/voltages constant while current/conductivity vary—the“voltage generator”—and current constant while electric ﬁeld/conductivity vary—the “current generator.”Statistical studies of ground magnetometer observations associated with dayside Transient High LatitudeCurrent Systems (THLCS) driven by similar mechanisms ﬁnd contradictory results using this paradigm:some studies associate THLCS with voltage generators, others with current generators. We argue that mostof this contradiction arises from two assumptions used to interpret ground magnetometer observations:(1) measurements made at ﬁxed position relative to the THLCS ﬁeld-aligned current and (2) negligibleauroral precipitation contributions to ionospheric conductivity. We use observations and simulations toillustrate how these two assumptions substantially alter expectations for magnetic perturbations associatedwith either a current or a voltage generator. Our results demonstrate that before interpreting groundmagnetometer observations of THLCS in the context of current/voltage generators, the location of a groundmagnetometer station relative to the THLCS ﬁeld-aligned current and the location of any auroral zoneconductivity enhancements need to be taken into account.
- Ground magnetometer
- Sudden commencement;
- Current generator
- Voltage generator
- Magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling
Hartinger, M. D., Xu, Z., Clauer, C. R., Yu, Y., Weimer, D. R., Kim, H., Pilipenko, V. A., Welling, D. T., Behlke, R., & Naemi Willer, A. (2017). Associating ground magnetometer observations with current or voltage generators. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122(7), 7130–7141 . https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JA024140