The outer radiation belt response to the storm time development of seed electrons and chorus wave activity during CME and CIR storms

Gyroresonant wave-particle interactions with very low frequency whistler mode chorus waves can accelerate subrelativistic seed electrons (hundreds of keV) to relativistic energies in the outer radiation belt during geomagnetic storms. In this study, we conduct a superposed epoch analysis of the chorus wave activity, the seed electron development, and the outer radiation belt electron response between L* = 2.5 and 5.5, for 25 coronal mass ejection and 35 corotating interaction region storms using Van Allen Probes observations. Electron data from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer and Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope instruments are used to monitor the storm-phase development of the seed and relativistic electrons, and magnetic field measurements from the Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science instrument are used to identify the chorus wave activity. Our results show a deeper (lower L*), stronger (higher flux), and earlier (epoch time) average seed electron enhancement and a resulting greater average radiation belt electron enhancement in coronal mass ejection storms compared to the corotating interaction region storms despite similar levels and lifetimes of average chorus wave activity for the two storm drivers. The earlier and deeper seed electron enhancement during the coronal mass ejection storms, likely driven by greater convection and substorm activity, provides a higher probability for local acceleration. These results emphasize the importance of the timing and the level of the seed electron enhancements in radiation belt dynamics.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published
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