Observation of chorus waves by the Van Allen Probes: Dependence on solar wind parameters and scale size

Highly energetic electrons in the Earth\textquoterights Van Allen radiation belts can cause serious damage to spacecraft electronic systems and affect the atmospheric composition if they precipitate into the upper atmosphere. Whistler mode chorus waves have attracted significant attention in recent decades for their crucial role in the acceleration and loss of energetic electrons that ultimately change the dynamics of the radiation belts. The distribution of these waves in the inner magnetosphere is commonly presented as a function of geomagnetic activity. However, geomagnetic indices are nonspecific parameters that are compiled from imperfectly covered ground based measurements. The present study uses wave data from the two Van Allen Probes to present the distribution of lower band chorus waves not only as functions of single geomagnetic index and solar wind parameters but also as functions of combined parameters. Also the current study takes advantage of the unique equatorial orbit of the Van Allen Probes to estimate the average scale size of chorus wave packets, during close separations between the two spacecraft, as a function of radial distance, magnetic latitude, and geomagnetic activity, respectively. Results show that the average scale size of chorus wave packets is approximately 1300\textendash2300 km. The results also show that the inclusion of combined parameters can provide better representation of the chorus wave distributions in the inner magnetosphere and therefore can further improve our knowledge of the acceleration and loss of radiation belt electrons.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Number of Pages
Date Published