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High Latitude Ionospheric Electrodynamics During STEVE and Non-STEVE Substorm Events
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  • Valerie Claire Svaldi,
  • Tomoko Matsuo,
  • Liam Kilcommons,
  • Bea Gallardo-Lacourt
Valerie Claire Svaldi
Mechanical Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines
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Tomoko Matsuo
Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder

Corresponding Author:tomoko.matsuo@colorado.edu

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Liam Kilcommons
University of Colorado Boulder
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Bea Gallardo-Lacourt
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Previous studies have shown that Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE) events occur at the end of a prolonged substorm expansion phase. However, the connection between STEVE occurrence and substorms and the global high-latitude ionospheric electrodynamics associated with the development of STEVE and non-STEVE substorms are not yet well understood. The focus of this paper is to identify electrodynamics features that are unique to STEVE events through a comprehensive analysis of ionospheric convection patterns estimated from SuperDARN plasma drift and ground-based magnetometer data using the Assimilative Mapping of Geospace Observations (AMGeO) procedure. Results from AMGeO are further analyzed using principal component analysis and superposed epoch analysis for 32 STEVE and 32 non-STEVE substorm events. The analysis shows that the magnitude of cross-polar cap potential drop is generally greater for STEVE events. In contrast to non-STEVE substorms, the majority of STEVE events investigated accompany with a pronounced extension of the dawn cell into the pre-midnight subauroral latitudes, reminiscent of the Harang reversal convection feature where the eastward electrojet overlaps with the westward electrojet, which tends to prolong over substorm expansion and recovery phases. This is consistent with the presence of an enhanced subauroral electric field confirmed by previous STEVE studies. The global and localized features of high-latitude ionospheric convection associated with optical STEVE events characterized in this paper provide important insights into cross-scale magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling mechanisms that differentiate STEVE events from non-STEVE substorm events.