The Response of the Energy Content of the Outer Electron Radiation Belt to Geomagnetic Storms

TitleThe Response of the Energy Content of the Outer Electron Radiation Belt to Geomagnetic Storms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsXiong, Y, Xie, L, Chen, L, Ni, B, Fu, S, Pu, Z
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published09/2018
KeywordsChorus wave; energetic particles; energy content; magnetic storm; outer radiation belt; Van Allen Probes
AbstractUsing the data from the Van Allen Probe‐A spacecraft, the variability of the total outer radiation belt (2.5<L*<6) electron energy content (TRBEEC) for energetic electrons (>300 keV) is investigated for the first time during 51 isolated storms spanning from October 2012 to May 2017. The statistical results show that the TRBEEC exhibits no‐change in 20% of the storms and gets enhanced during 80% of them. The sub‐relativistic electrons (300‐500 keV) and relativistic electrons (0.5‐2.0 MeV) equally contribute to the TRBEEC during the main phases, while in the recovery phases, the relativistic electrons contribute up to 80% of the TRBEEC. The results of the superposed epoch analysis of the solar wind parameters and geomagnetic indices indicate that the TRBEEC enhancement events preferably occur during the prolonged southward IMF period when the solar wind‐magnetosphere coupling is more efficient. Meanwhile, the high AE index with intense injections of several hundreds of keV “seed” electrons also favors the increase of the TRBEEC. Case study shows that there is a localized growing PSD (phase space density) peak around L*=4.3 and the chorus wave energy and the gain of TRBEEC are on the same order of magnitude, which may suggest that the enhancement of the TRBEEC is the consequence of the chorus acceleration. Understanding the energy budget of the outer zone electrons can provide more insight into the energy transfer from plasma waves to the energetic electron population, especially for revealing the underlying physics of the energization of outer radiation belt electrons via chorus wave acceleration.
Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res. Space Physics

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