Formation of the inner electron radiation belt by enhanced large-scale electric fields

A two-dimensional bounce-averaged test particle code was developed to examine trapped electron trajectories during geomagnetic storms with the assumption of conservation of the first and second adiabatic invariants. The March 2013 storm was selected as an example because the geomagnetic activity Kp index sharply increased from 2 + to 7- at 6:00 UT on 17 March. Electron measurements with energies between 37 and 460 keV from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) instrument onboard Van Allen Probes (VAP) are used as initial conditions prior to the storm onset and served to validate test particle simulations during the storm. Simulation results help to interpret the observed electron injection as nondiffusive radial transport over a short distance in the inner belt and slot region based on various electric field models, although the quantitative comparisons are not precise. We show that electron drift trajectories are sensitive to the selection of electric field models. Moreover, our simulation results suggest that the actual field strength of penetration electric fields during this storm is stronger than any existing electric field model, particularly for L <= 2.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published