For the first half of the afternoon I attended the breakout session on global M-I coupling chaired by David Murr (Dartmouth). Speakers were Murr giving an overview of the selected events, G. Crowley (Astra Corp.) on AMIE runs, Jo Baker (APL) on SuperDARN data, Aaron Ridley (Michigan) on including seasonal variations of the aurora in models, and Bill Lotko (Dartmouth) on summer-winter variations in ionospheric plasma. The highlight of the session was Lotko's talk, in which he showed that both ionospheric conductivity and density can affect auroral intensity (Newell et al. focused on ionospheric conductivity in their 1996 Nature paper).
After the break I switched to the cusp session, chaired by Karlheinz Trattner (Lockheed) and Dave Sibeck (GSFC). Speakers were Antonius Otto (Alaska) on test particle simulations of cusp diamagnetic cavities, Nick Omidi (Solana Scientific) on hybrid simulations of the interaction of flux transfer events with the cusp, Masha Kuznetsova (GSFC) on MHD simulations of same, and Katariina Nykiri (Florida Tech) on particle acceleration in the high altitude cusp. Omidi's and Kuznetsova's talks were the most interesting, particularly Omidi's claim of a connection between FTEs and poleward moving auroral forms, and Kuznetsova's claims of FTE breakup due to sausage instability. Note to self: Ask Omidi about whether the FTE-cusp interaction might be related to my work with Charlie Farrugia on momentum transfer on old open field lines.