On 14 January 2001, the four Cluster spacecraft passed through the northern magnetospheric mantle in close conjunction to the EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR) and approached the post-noon dayside magnetopause over Greenland between 13:00 and 14:00 UT During that interval, a sudden reorganisation of the high-latitude dayside convection pattern accurred after 13:20 UT most likely caused by a direction change of the Solar wind magnetic field. The result was an eastward and poleward directed flow-channel, as monitored by the SuperDARN radar network and also by arrays of ground-based magnetometers in Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia. After an initial eastward and later poleward expansion of the flow-channel between 13:20 and 13:40 UT, the four Cluster spacecraft, and the field line footprints covered by the eastward looking scan cycle of the Sondre Stromfjord incoherent scatter radar were engulfed by cusp-like precipitation with transient magnetic and electric field signatures. In addition, the EISCAT Svalbard Radar detected strong transient effects of the convection reorganisation, a poleward moving precipitation, and a fast ion flow-channel in association with the auroral structures that suddenly formed to the west and north of the radar. From a detailed analysis of the coordinated Cluster and ground-based data, it was found that this extraordinary transient convection pattern, indeed, had moved the cusp precipitation from its former pre-noon position into the late post-noon sector, allowing for the first and quite unexpected encounter of the cusp by the Cluster spacecraft. Our findings illustrate the large amplitude of cusp dynamics even in response to moderate solar wind forcing. The global ground-based data proves to be an invaluable tool to monitor the dynamics and width of the affected magnetospheric regions.
Annales Geophysicae, 2001, Vol 19, Issue 10-12, p. 1367-1398