Storm-time dynamics of ring current protons: Implications for the long-term energy budget in the inner magnetosphere

Our investigation of the long-term ring current proton pressure evolution in Earth\textquoterights inner magnetosphere based on Van Allen Probes data shows drastically different behavior of the low- and high- energy components of the ring current proton population with respect to the Sym-H index variation. We found that while the low-energy component of the protons (<80 keV) is strongly governed by convective timescales and is very well correlated with the absolute value of Sym-H index, the high-energy component (>100 keV) varies on much longer timescales and shows either no or anti-correlation with the absolute value of Sym-H index. Our study also shows that the contributions of the low- and high- energy protons to the inner magnetosphere energy content are comparable. Thus, our results conclusively demonstrate that proton dynamics, and as a result the energy budget in the inner magnetosphere, do not vary strictly on storm-time timescales as those are defined by the Sym-H index.
Year of Publication
Geophysical Research Letters
Number of Pages
n/a - n/a
Date Published