Electron flux enhancements at <i>L</i> = 4.2 observed by Global Positioning System satellites: Relationship with solar wind and geomagnetic activity

Determining solar wind and geomagnetic activity parameters most favorable to strong electron flux enhancements is an important step towards forecasting radiation belt dynamics. Using electron flux measurements from Global Positioning System satellites at L = 4.2 in 2009-2016, we seek statistical relationships between flux enhancements at different energies and solar wind dynamic pressure Pdyn, AE, and Kp, from hundreds of events inside and outside the plasmasphere. Most ⩾1 MeV electron flux enhancements occur during non-storm (or weak storm) times. Flux enhancements of 4 MeV electrons outside the plasmasphere occur during periods of low Pdyn and high AE. We perform superposed epoch analyses of GPS electron fluxes, along with solar wind and geomagnetic indices, 40 keV electron flux, ULF wave index from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), and chorus wave intensity from the Van Allen Probes and Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission. We demonstrate that 4 MeV electron flux enhancements outside the plasmasphere start when the interplanetary magnetic field (Bz) reaches a minimum, and develop during periods of low Pdyn, high AE, low but increasing Dst, moderate ULF wave index, and intense chorus waves. Flux enhancements at 100 keV occur under conditions with higher Pdyn, higher ULF wave index, and elevated 40 keV electron flux at L = 6.6. Moreover, electron flux enhancements take much more time to develop at higher energies. This suggests that 100 keV flux enhancements are dominated by injections, while MeV electron energization is predominantly induced by chorus waves with further amplification by inward transport.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published