Induction effects on ionospheric electric and magnetic fields

Heikki Vanhamäki, A. Viljanen, O. Amm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid changes in the ionospheric current system give rise to induction currents in the conducting ground that can significantly contribute to magnetic and especially electric fields at the Earth's surface. Previous studies have concentrated on the surface fields, as they are important in, for example, interpreting magnetometer measurements or in the studies of the Earth's conductivity structure. In this paper we investigate the effects of induction fields at the ionospheric altitudes for several realistic ionospheric current models (Westward Travelling Surge, Ω-band, Giant Pulsation). Our main conclusions are: 1) The secondary electric field caused by the Earth's induction is relatively small at the ionospheric altitude, at most 0.4 mV/m or a few percent of the total electric field; 2) The primary induced field due to ionospheric self-induction is locally important, ∼ a few mV/m, in some "hot spots", where the ionospheric conductivity is high and the total electric field is low. However, our approximate calculation only gives an upper estimate for the primary induced electric field; 3) The secondary magnetic field caused by the Earth's induction may significantly affect the magnetic measurements of low orbiting satellites. The secondary contribution from the Earth's currents is largest in the vertical component of the magnetic field, where it may be around 50% of the field caused by ionospheric currents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1746
Number of pages12
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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