Simulations of Electron Flux Oscillations as Observed by MagEIS in Response to Broadband ULF Waves

Coherent electron flux oscillations of hundreds of keV are often observed by the Van Allen Probes in the magnetosphere during quiet times in association with ultralow frequency (ULF) waves. They are observed in the form of periodic flux fluctuations, with a drift frequency that is energy dependent, but are not associated with drift echoes following storm- or substorm-related energetic particle injections. Instead, they are associated with the resonant interaction of electrons with ULF waves and are an indication of ongoing electron radial diffusion. To investigate details of such flux oscillations, particle-tracing simulations are conducted under the effect of realistic, broadband ULF electric and consistent magnetic fluctuations. Virtual detectors are simulated along spacecraft orbits and the results are compared to measurements. Through a parametric study, it is found that the width of electron energy channels is a critical parameter affecting the observed amplitude of flux oscillations, with narrower energy channel widths enabling the observation of higher-amplitude flux oscillations; this potentially explains why such features were not observed regularly before the Van Allen Probes era, as previous spacecraft generally had lower energy resolution, which only enabled the observation of large-amplitude drift echoes following a storm or substorm. Results are confirmed using the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) ultrahigh energy resolution data. Energy width effects are quantified through a parametric simulation study that matches flux oscillation observations during a period that is characterized by extremely quiet conditions, where the Van Allen Probes observed flux oscillations over multiple days.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Number of Pages
Date Published