Magnetic fluctuations in the 22-100 millihertz (Pc3) band are a consistent indicator of the presence of the cusp in the overhead ionosphere at high latitudes. Correlation of the signals from a variety of instruments have shown that the sources of these pulsations are local (ionospheric) rather than distant (magnetospheric) [Engebretson et al., 1990]. Modulated electron precipitation is presumed to be the source of the fluctuations through the modulations in ionospheric conductivity that they produce. Olson and Szuberla  used data from a pair of cusp stations to deduce the scale size of the precipitating beams using a simple model in which the beams were assumed to have circular cross section. They obtained an upper bound for the coherence length of the order of 200 km. In this paper we extend the analysis of Olson and Szuberla by incorporating data from the Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies (MACCS) magnetometer array and the Australian ANARE antarctic sites to give a broader range of station separations. Using a statistical approach we computed the cumulative distribution function of the interstation coherence and from that distribution we established a measure of coherence, CL . The result of this analysis is a coherence that diminishes with inter-station distance as CL ≈ 1.4 exp(−S/250) where S is the station separation in km. When this result is interpreted in the context of the simple model mentioned above we find a coherence length of 140 - 180km.
Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 25, Issue 13, p. 2381-2384