Equatorial noise emissions with quasiperiodic modulation of wave intensity

Equatorial noise (EN) emissions are electromagnetic wave events at frequencies between the proton cyclotron frequency and the lower hybrid frequency observed in the equatorial region of the inner magnetosphere. They propagate nearly perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field, and they exhibit a harmonic line structure characteristic of the proton cyclotron frequency in the source region. However, they were generally believed to be continuous in time. We investigate more than 2000 EN events observed by the Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Field Fluctuations and Wide-Band Data Plasma Wave investigation instruments on board the Cluster spacecraft, and we show that this is not always the case. A clear quasiperiodic (QP) time modulation of the wave intensity is present in more than 5\% of events. We perform a systematic analysis of these EN events with QP modulation of the wave intensity. Such events occur usually in the noon-to-dawn magnetic local time sector. Their occurrence seems to be related to the increased geomagnetic activity, and it is associated with the time intervals of enhanced solar wind flow speeds. The modulation period of these events is on the order of minutes. Compressional ULF magnetic field pulsations with periods about double the modulation periods of EN wave intensity and magnitudes on the order of a few tenths of nanotesla were identified in about 46\% of events. We suggest that these compressional magnetic field pulsations might be responsible for the observed QP modulation of EN wave intensity, in analogy to formerly reported VLF whistler mode QP events.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published