Prediction of MeV electron fluxes throughout the outer radiation belt using multivariate autoregressive models

The Van Allen radiation belts surrounding the Earth are filled with MeV-energy electrons. This region poses ionizing radiation risks for spacecraft that operate within it, including those in geostationary (GEO) and medium Earth orbit (MEO). To provide alerts of electron flux enhancements, sixteen prediction models of the electron log-flux variation throughout the equatorial outer radiation belt as a function of the McIlwain L parameter were developed using the multivariate autoregressive model and Kalman filter. Measurements of omni-directional 2.3 MeV electron flux from the Van Allen Probes mission as well as >2 MeV electrons from the GOES-15 spacecraft were used as the predictors. Model explanatory parameters were selected from solar wind parameters, the electron log-flux at GEO, and geomagnetic indices. For the innermost region of the outer radiation belt, the electron flux is best predicted by using the Dst index as the sole input parameter. For the central to outermost regions, at L≧4.8 and L≧5.6, the electron flux is predicted most accurately by including also the solar wind velocity and then the dynamic pressure, respectively. The Dst index is the best overall single parameter for predicting at 3≦L≦6, while for the GEO flux prediction, the KP index is better than Dst. A test calculation demonstrates that the model successfully predicts the timing and location of the flux maximum as much as 2 days in advance, and that the electron flux decreases faster with time at higher L values, both model features consistent with the actually observed behavior.
Year of Publication
Space Weather
Number of Pages
n/a - n/a
Date Published