The magnetospheric and ionospheric response to a very strong interplanetary shock and coronal mass ejection
We present results from a coupled magnetospheric and ionospheric simulation of a very strong solar wind shock and coronal mass ejection (CME). The solar wind drivers that are used for this simulation were output from the Sun-to-Earth MHD simulation of the Carrington-like CME reported in Manchester et al. [Manchester IV, W., Ridley, A., Gombosi, T., De Zeeuw, D. Modeling the Sun-Earth propagation of a very fast cme. Adv. Space Res. 38 (this issue), 2006]. We use the University of Michigan's BATS-R-US MHD code to model the global magnetosphere and coupled height integrated ionosphere. As the interplanetary shock swept over the magnetosphere, a wave is observed to propagate through the system. This is evident both in the magnetosphere and ionosphere. On the dayside, the magnetospheric bowshock is shown to bifurcate. The inner shock is pushed close to the inner boundary, where it "bounces" and propagates back outwards to meet the outer bowshock, which is propagating inwards. The inward and outward motion of the bowshocks can be observed propagating down the flanks of the magnetosphere. In the ionosphere, the wave is manifested as two pairs of field-aligned currents moving antisunward. The first pair is opposite of the normal region-1 current system, while the second pair is in the same sense as the normal region-1 system. The ionospheric potential shows a behavior consistent with the field-aligned current pattern, given the strong gradient in the conductance from the dayside to the nightside. As the magnetic cloud flows over the system, the entire magnetopause boundary is observed to move inside of geosynchronous orbit (6.6 Re). At the time of the most extreme solar wind conditions, the magnetopause boundary encounters the inner edge of the magnetospheric simulation domain. During the magnetic cloud, the ionospheric cross-polar cap potential is shown to match the Siscoe et al. [Siscoe, G.L., Erickson, G., Sonnerup, B., Maynard, N., Schoendorf, J., Siebert, K., Weimer, D., White, W., Wilson, G. Hill model of transpolar potential saturation: comparisons with MHD simulations. J. Geophys. Res. 107, 1321, doi:10.1029/2001JA009176, 2002] formulation relating the ionospheric potential to the solar wind and IMF conditions. It is shown that by using this formulation, the extremely large potentials observed in the MHD results are most likely saturated.