Direct observation of generation and propagation of magnetosonic waves following substorm injection
Magnetosonic whistler mode waves play an important role in the radiation belt electron dynamics. Previous theory has suggested that these waves are excited by the ring distributions of hot protons and can propagate radially and azimuthally over a broad spatial range. However, because of the challenging requirements on satellite locations and data-processing techniques, this theory was difficult to validate directly. Here we present some experimental tests of the theory on the basis of Van Allen Probes observations of magnetosonic waves following substorm injections. At higher L-shells with significant substorm injections, the discrete magnetosonic emission lines started approximately at the proton gyrofrequency harmonics, qualitatively consistent with the prediction of linear proton Bernstein mode instability. In the frequency-time spectrograms, these emission lines exhibited a clear rising tone characteristic with a long duration of 15-25 mins, implying the additional contribution of other undiscovered mechanisms. Nearly at the same time, the magnetosonic waves arose at lower L-shells without substorm injections. The wave signals at two different locations, separated by ΔL up to 2.0 and by ΔMLT up to 4.2, displayed the consistent frequency-time structures, strongly supporting the hypothesis about the radial and azimuthal propagation of magnetosonic waves.
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Geophysical Research Letters