Joe Kan

The book entitled below is under preparation by Joseph Kan for publication by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Geomagnetic Storms and Auroral Substorms: 

Driven by Tail Current Loops Powered by the Solar Wind


A summary by Joseph Kan


This book introduces a unified model of the geomagnetic storm and auroral substorm, focusing on recent developments of unresolved issues in these subjects, as summarized below:

Chapter 1 Introduces the background knowledge of the Solar Wind, which is the energy source for the geomagnetic storm and auroral substorm

Chapter 2 describes the transport of solar wind kinetic energy into the closed magnetosphere by the viscous interactions, as well as into the open magnetosphere by the tail current loops developed jointly by the Dayside-Tail Reconnection System. The tail current loops connect the solar wind dynamo directly to the plasma sheet motor.

This chapter is based on the paper presented at the Chapman Conference on Magnetospheric Dynamics, published in EOS by J. R. Kan and J. L. Burch, “Exploring New Knowledge on Magnetospheric Interactions”, 97, 10, 15 May (2016).

Chapter 3 describes the breakdown of entropy conservation in the collision-free plasma sheet due to dissipations in the M-I coupling system caused byparticle precipitations to the ionosphere. The breakdown of the entropy conservation facilitates the penetration of the global earthward convection into the inner magnetosphere to buildup the ring current during the storm main phase.

This chapter is based primarily on Wolf et al. (2009), Entropy and plasma sheet transport, J. Geophys. Res., 114, A00D05, doi:10.1029/2009JA0-14044, and on Newell et al. (2009), Dissipations in the M-I coupling, J. Geophys. Res.,114, A09207, doi:10.1029/2009JA014326.

Chapter 4 describes the THEMIS observations of a pseudo-breakup and a full-scale substorm obtained on March 1, 2008. The Alfvén wavefront of the CECL propagates along field lines toward the near-Earth plasma sheet. Brightening of the substorm onset arc leads the substorm dipolarization onset by ~80 sec when the Alfvén wavefront incident on the near-Earth plasma sheet to disrupt the cross-tail current and trigger the substorm dipolarization onset. The expanding auroral bulge is the signature of the substorm expansion phase obtained by Akosfu (1964).

This chapter is based primarily on the THEMIS observations obtained by Kan et al. (2011). Brightening of onset arc precedes the substorm dipolarization onset by ~80 sec: THEMIS observations of two events on 1 March, 2008, Ann Geophys., 29, 1-15, doi: 10.5194/angeo.

Chapter 5 describes the latest comprehensive estimates on the energetics of geomagnetic storms and auroral substorms. The energy dissipated in the M-I coupling system is shown to be less than 1% of the total available solar wind kinetic energy. The energy input to the magnetosphere governed by the day-tail reconnection system plus < ~20% contributions from viscous interactions between the solar wind and the low-latitude-boundary-layer.

This chapter is based primarily on Østgaard and Tanskanen (2003), Energetics of isolated and stormtime substorms, in Disturbances in Geospace: The Storm-Substom Relationship, AGU Geophysical Monograph 142 (2003).


On the Origin of Inspired Creativity

Human beings are created in God's image, as spiritual being, capable of interacting  with God. Human creativity can be inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit, which will be called inspired creativity.

Inspired creativity need not be logical, often unpredictable and seems always mysterious. My favorite example of inspired creavitity is Newton’s (1642-1727) theory of gravity. It governs the motions of heavenly bodies in the universe. But the origin of Newton’s gravity is still a mystery today.

I thank God for watching over me, leading my life day-by-day, and guiding my research in Space Physics step-by-step:

• For bringing my wife Rosalind and I together since we met in our college days almost 60 years ago.

• For blessing our family with three children of good characters.

• I am humbled to have experienced the power of “inspiration” in  my retirement years since 2003.

The lessons I learned in life are to be humble, patient and honest at all times.

Remember, one can lie his way to the White House, but no one can lie his way into Heaven.



Joseph R. Kan

July, 2017

Fairbanks, Alaska, USA