Temporal evolution of ion spectral structures during a geomagnetic storm: Observations and modeling

Using the Van Allen Probes/Helium, Oxygen, Proton, and Electron (HOPE) mass spectrometer, we perform a case study of the temporal evolution of ion spectral structures observed in the energy range of 1-~50 keV throughout the geomagnetic storm of 2 October 2013. The ion spectral features are observed near the inner edge of the plasma sheet and are signatures of fresh transport from the plasma sheet into the inner magnetosphere. We find that the characteristics of the ion structures are determined by the intensity of the convection electric field. Prior to the beginning of the storm, the plasma sheet inner edge exhibits narrow nose spectral structures that vary little in energy across L values. Ion access to the inner magnetosphere during these times is limited to the nose energy bands. As convection is enhanced and large amounts of plasma are injected from the plasma sheet during the main phase of the storm, ion access occurs at a wide energy range, as no nose structures are observed. As the magnetosphere recovers from the storm, single noses and then multiple noses are observed once again. We use a model of ion drift and losses due to charge exchange to simulate the ion spectra and gain insight into the main observed features.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published