Global MHD test particle simulations of >10 MeV radiation belt electrons during storm sudden commencement

[1] Prior to 2003, there are two known cases where ultrarelativistic (≳10 MeV) electrons appeared in the Earth\textquoterights inner zone radiation belts in association with high speed interplanetary shocks: the 24 March 1991 and the less well studied 21 February 1994 storms. During the March 1991 event electrons were injected well into the inner zone on a timescale of minutes, producing a new stably trapped radiation belt population that persisted for \~10 years. More recently, at the end of solar cycle 23, a number of violent geomagnetic disturbances resulted in large variations in ultrarelativistic electrons in the inner zone, indicating that these events are less rare than previously thought. Here we present results from a numerical study of shock-induced transport and energization of outer zone electrons in the 1\textendash7 MeV range, resulting in a newly formed 10\textendash20 MeV electron belt near L \~ 3. Test particle trajectories are followed in time-dependent fields from an MHD magnetospheric model simulation of the 29 October 2003 storm sudden commencement (SSC) driven by solar wind parameters measured at ACE. The newly formed belt is predominantly equatorially mirroring. This result is in part due to an SSC electric field pulse that is strongly peaked in the equatorial plane, preferentially accelerating equatorially mirroring particles. The timescale for subsequent pitch angle diffusion of the new belt, calculated using quasi-linear bounce-averaged diffusion coefficients, is in agreement with the observed delay in the appearance of peak fluxes at SAMPEX in low Earth orbit. We also present techniques for modeling radiation belt dynamics using test particle trajectories in MHD fields. Simulations are performed using code developed by the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research
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