Space Science Reviews

, Volume 17, Issue 2–4, pp 563–587 | Cite as

Observations of birkeland currents

  • P. A. Cloutier
  • H. R. Anderson


Recent measurements of precipitating energetic particles and vector magnetic fields from satellites and sounding rockets have verified the existence of geomagnetically-aligned electric currents at high latitudes in the ionosphere and magnetosphere. The spatial and temporal configuration of such currents, now commonly called Birkeland currents, has delineated their role in providing ionospheric closure of magnetospheric current systems, and gross features of these current systems may be understood in terms of theoretical models of magnetospheric convection. The association of Birkeland currents with auroral features on a very small scale suggests that auroral acceleration may result from the current flow.


Magnetic Field Convection Theoretical Model High Latitude Electric Current 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Cloutier
    • 1
  • H. R. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Space Physics and AstronomyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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