Found 58 entries in the Bibliography.
Showing entries from 1 through 50
Abstract Radiation belt electrons undergo frequent acceleration, transport, and loss processes under various physical mechanisms. One of the most prevalent mechanisms is radial diffusion, caused by the resonant interactions between energetic electrons and ULF waves in the Pc4-5 band. An indication of this resonant interaction is believed to be the appearance of periodic flux oscillations. In this study, we report long-lasting, drift-periodic flux oscillations of relativistic and ultrarelativistic electrons with energies up to ∼7.7 MeV in the outer radiation belt, observed by the Van Allen Probes mission. During this March 2017 event, multi-MeV electron flux oscillations at the electron drift frequency appeared coincidently with enhanced Pc5 ULF wave activity and lasted for over 10 hours in the center of the outer belt. The amplitude of such flux oscillations is well correlated with the radial gradient of electron phase space density (PSD), with almost no oscillation observed near the PSD peak. The temporal evolution of the PSD radial profile also suggests the dominant role of radial diffusion in multi-MeV electron dynamics during this event. By combining these observations, we conclude that these multi-MeV electron flux oscillations are caused by the resonant interactions between electrons and broadband Pc5 ULF waves and are an indicator of the ongoing radial diffusion process during this event. They contain essential information of radial diffusion and have the potential to be further used to quantify the radial diffusion effects and aid in a better understanding of this prevailing mechanism. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Zhao, Hong; Sarris, Theodore; Li, Xinlin; Weiner, Max; Huckabee, Isabela; Baker, Daniel; Jaynes, Allison; Kanekal, Shrikanth; Elkington, Scot; Barani, Mohammad; Tu, Weichao; Liu, Wenlong; Zhang, Dianjun; Hartinger, Michael;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 07/2021
YEAR: 2021   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JA029284
Abstract We describe a new data product combining pitch angle resolved electron flux measurements from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) Energetic Particle Composition and Thermal Plasma (ECT) suite on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration s Van Allen Probes. We describe the methodology used to combine each of the data sets and produce a consistent set of pitch-angle-resolved spectra for the entire Van Allen Probes mission. Three-minute-averaged flux spectra are provided spanning energies from 15 eV up to 20 MeV. This new data product offers researchers a consistent cross calibrated data set to explore the particle dynamics of the inner magnetosphere across a wide range of energies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 02/2021
YEAR: 2021   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JA028637
We present a study analyzing relativistic and ultra relativistic electron energization and the evolution of pitch angle distributions using data from the Van Allen Probes. We study the connection between energization and isotropization to determine if there is a coherence across storms and across energies. Pitch angle distributions are fit with a J0sinnθ function, and the variable ’n’ is characterized as the pitch angle index and tracked over time. Our results show that, consistently across all storms with ultra relativistic electron energization, electron distributions are most anisotropic within around a day of Dstmin and become more isotropic in the following week. Also, each consecutively higher energy channel is associated with higher anisotropy after storm main phase. Changes in the pitch angle index are reflected in each energy channel; when 1.8 MeV electron pitch angle distributions increase (or decrease) in pitch angle index, so do the other energy channels. We show that the peak anisotropies differ between CME- and CIR- driven storms and measure the relaxation rate as the anisotropy falls after the storm. The isotropization rate in pitch angle index for CME-driven storms is -0.15±0.02 day−1 at 1.8 MeV, -0.30±0.01 day−1 at 3.4 MeV, and -0.39±0.02 day−1 at 5.2 MeV. For CIR-driven storms, the isotropization rates are -0.10±0.01 day−1 for 1.8 MeV, -0.13±0.02 day−1 for 3.4 MeV, and -0.11±0.02 day−1 for 5.2 MeV. This study shows that there is a global coherence across energies and that storm type may play a role in the evolution of electron pitch angle distributions.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 12/2020
YEAR: 2020   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JA028335
In this study we examine the ability of protons of solar origin to access the near-equatorial inner magnetosphere. Here we examine four distinct solar proton events from 20–200 MeV, concurrent with both quiet time and storm time conditions using proton data from the ACE satellite in the solar wind upstream of Earth and data from the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope (REPT) instrument aboard Van Allen Probes. We examine the direct flux correspondence between interplanetary space and the inner magnetosphere. Small substructures in interplanetary space are observable in the REPT flux profiles, which can penetrate down to L values of ≤4. Furthermore, there are orbit-to-orbit variations in the west-to-east anisotropic flux ratios. The anisotropic flux ratios are used as a proxy for cutoff energies and display cutoff variations with L shell and energy. The dependence of the anisotropic flux ratio on Dst values is shown. The results paint a picture of highly dynamic spatial and temporal proton cutoff rigidities in the near-equatorial inner magnetosphere.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 05/2020
YEAR: 2020   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JA027584
Abstract Forecasting relativistic electron fluxes at geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) has been a long-term goal of the scientific community, and significant advances have been made in the past, but the relation to the interior of the radiation belts, that is, to lower L-shells, is still not clear. In this work we have identified 60 relativistic electron enhancement events at GEO to study the radial response of outer belt fluxes and the correlation between the fluxes at GEO and those at lower L-shells. The enhancement events occurred between 1 October 2012 and 31 December 2017 and were identified using Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 15 >2 MeV fluxes at GEO, which we have used to characterize the radial response of the radiation belt, by comparing to fluxes measured by the Van Allen probes Energetic Particle, Composition and Thermal Plasma Suite Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope (ECT-REPT) between 2.5 Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 03/2020 YEAR: 2020   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027660
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 03/2020
YEAR: 2020   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027660
Abstract The plasmasphere is a highly dynamic toroidal region of cold, dense plasma around Earth. Plasma waves exist both inside and outside this region and can contribute to the loss and acceleration of high energy outer radiation belt electrons. Early observational studies found an apparent correlation on long time scales between the observed inner edge of the outer radiation belt and the modeled innermost plasmapause location. More recent work using high-resolution Van Allen Probes data has found a more complex relationship. For this study, we determine the standoff distance of the location of maximum electron flux of the outer belt MeV electrons from the plasmapause following rapid enhancement events. We find that the location of the outer radiation belt based on maximum electron flux is consistently outside the plasmapause, with a peak radial standoff distance of ∆L ~ 1. We discuss the implications this result has for acceleration mechanisms.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 03/2020
YEAR: 2020   DOI: 10.1029/2020GL086991
Using Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope measurements onboard Van Allen Probes, the evolution of electron pitch angle distributions (PADs) during the different phases of magnetic storms is studied. Electron fluxes are sorted in terms of storm phase, urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0001 value, energy, and magnetic local time (MLT) sectors for 55 magnetic storms from October 2012 through May 2017. To understand the potential mechanisms for the evolution of electron PADs, we fit PADs to a sinusoidal function urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0002, where urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0003 is the equatorial pitch angle and n is a real number. The major inferences from our study are (i) at L urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-00045, the prestorm electron PADs are nearly isotropic (n urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-00050), which evolves differently in different MLT sectors during the main phase subsequently recovering back to nearly isotropic distribution type during the storm recovery phase; (ii) for urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0006 urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0007 3.4 MeV, the main phase electron PADs become more pancake like on the dayside with high n values (>3), while it becomes more flattop to butterfly like on the nightside, (iii) at L = 5, magnetic field strength during the storm main phase enhances during the daytime and decreases during the nighttime. (iv) Conversely, at L urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-00083, the electron PADs neither respond significantly to the different phase of the magnetic storm nor reflect any MLT dependence. (v) Main phase, electron fluxes with urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0009 <4.2 MeV shows a persistent 90\textdegree maximum PAD with n ranging between 0 and 2, while for urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0010 urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra55457:jgra55457-math-0011 4.2 MeV the distribution appears flattop and butterfly like. Our study shows that the relativistic electron PADs depend upon the geomagnetic storm phase and possible underlying mechanisms are discussed in this paper.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 12/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027086
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 11/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027331
Using energetic particle and wave measurements from the Van Allen Probes, Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES), and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), the acceleration mechanism of ultrarelativistic electrons (>3 MeV) in the center of the outer radiation belt is investigated statistically. A superposed epoch analysis is conducted using 19 storms, which caused flux enhancements of 1.8\textendash7.7 MeV electrons. The evolution of electron phase space density radial profile suggests an energy-dependent acceleration of ultrarelativistic electrons in the outer belt. Especially, for electrons with very high energies (~7 MeV), prevalent positive phase space density radial gradients support inward radial diffusion being responsible for electron acceleration in the center of the outer belt (L*~3\textendash5) during most enhancement events in the Van Allen Probes era. We propose a two-step acceleration process to explain the acceleration of ~7 MeV electrons in the outer belt: intense and sustained chorus waves locally energize core electron populations to ultrarelativistic energies at high L region beyond the Van Allen Probes\textquoteright apogee, followed by inward radial diffusion which further energizes these populations to even higher energies. Statistical results of chorus wave activity inferred from POES precipitating electron measurements as well as core electron populations observed by the Van Allen Probes and GOES support this hypothesis.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 10/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA027111
We describe a new data product combining the spin-averaged electron flux measurements from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) Energetic Particle Composition and Thermal Plasma (ECT) suite on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration\textquoterights Van Allen Probes. We describe the methodology used to combine each of the data sets and produce a consistent set of spectra for September 2013 to the present. Three-minute-averaged flux spectra are provided spanning energies from 15 eV up to 20 MeV. This new data product provides additional utility to the ECT data and offers a consistent cross calibrated data set for researchers interested in examining the dynamics of the inner magnetosphere across a wide range of energies.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 10/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA026733
Relativistic electron flux responses in the inner magnetosphere are investigated for 28 magnetic storms driven by Corotating Interaction Region (CIR) and 27 magnetic storms driven by Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), using data from the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope (REPT) instrument on board Van-Allen Probes from Oct-2012 to May-2017. In this present study we analyze the role of CIRs and CMEs in electron dynamics by sorting the electron fluxes in terms of averaged solar wind parameters, L-values, and energies. The major outcomes from our study are: (i) At L = 3 and E = 3.4 MeV, for >70\% cases the electron flux remains stable, while at L = 5, for ~82\% cases it changes with the geomagnetic conditions. (ii) At L = 5, ~53\% of the CIR storms and 30\% of the CME storms show electron flux increase. (iii) At a given L-value, the tendency for the electron flux variation diminishes with the increasing energies for both categories of storms. (iv) In case of CIR driven storms, the electron flux changes are associated with changes in Vsw and Sym-H. (v) At L ~ 3, CME storms show increased electron flux, while at L ~ 5, CIR storms are responsible for the electron flux enhancements. (vi) During CME and CIR driven storms, distinct electron flux variations are observed at L = 3 and L = 5.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 07/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA026771
High energy trapped particles in the radiation belts constitute potential threats to the functionality of satellites as they enter into those regions. In the inner radiation belt, the characteristics of high-energy (>20MeV) protons variations during geomagnetic activity times have been studied by implementing four-year (2013-2016) observations of the Van Allen probes. An empirical formula has been used to remove the satellite orbit effect, by which proton fluxes have been normalized to the geomagnetic equator. Case studies show that the region of L<1.7 is relatively stable, while L>1.7 is more dynamic and the most significant variation of proton fluxes occurs at L=2.0. The four-year survey at L=2.0 indicates that for every geomagnetic storm, sharp descent in proton fluxes is accompanied by the corresponding depression of SYM-H index, with a one-to-one correspondence, regardless of the storm intensity. Proton fluxes dropouts are synchronous with SYM-H reduction with similar short timescales. Our observational results reveal that high-energy protons in the inner radiation belt are very dynamic, especially for the outer zone of the inner belt, which is beyond our previous knowledge.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 05/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026205
Based on the measurements of ~100-keV to 10-MeV electrons from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) and Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope (REPT) on the Van Allen Probes, the radiation belt electron energy spectra characterization and evolution have been investigated systematically. The results show that the majority of radiation belt electron energy spectra can be represented by one of three types of distributions: exponential, power law, and bump-on-tail (BOT). The exponential spectra are generally dominant in the outer radiation belt outside the plasmasphere, power law spectra usually appear at high L-shells during injections of lower-energy electrons, and BOT spectra commonly dominate inside the plasmasphere at L>2.5 during relatively quiet times. The main features of three types of energy spectra have also been revealed. Specifically, for the BOT energy spectrum, the energy of local flux maximum usually ranges from approximately hundreds of keV to several MeV and the energy of local flux minimum varies from ~100 keV to ~MeV, both increasing as L-shell decreases, confirming the plasmaspheric hiss wave scattering to be the main mechanism forming the BOT energy spectra. Statistical results using 4-year observations from the Van Allen Probes on the relation between energy spectra and plasmapause location also show that the plasmasphere plays a critical role in shaping radiation belt electron energy spectrum: the peak location of BOT energy spectra is ~1 L-shell inside the minimum plasmapause, where BOT energy spectra mostly form in ~1\textendash2 days as a result of hiss wave scattering.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 05/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2019JA026697
Using data from the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope on the Van Allen Probes, the effects of geomagnetic storms and solar wind conditions on the ultrarelativistic electron (E > ~3 MeV) flux enhancements in the outer radiation belt, especially regarding their energy dependence, are investigated. It is showed that, statistically, more intense geomagnetic storms are indeed more likely to cause flux enhancements of ~1.8- to 7.7-MeV electrons, though large variations exist. As the electron energy gets higher, the probability of flux enhancement gets lower. To shed light on which conditions of the storms are preferred to cause ultrarelativistic electron flux enhancement, detailed superposed epoch analyses of solar wind parameters and geomagnetic indices during moderate and intense storms with/without flux enhancements of different energy electrons are conducted. The results suggest that the storms with higher solar wind speed, sustained southward interplanetary magnetic field Bz, lower solar wind number density, higher solar wind Ey, and elevated and sustained substorm activity are more likely to cause ultrarelativistic electron flux enhancements in the outer belt. Comparing results of different energy electrons, the solar wind speed and AE index are the two parameters mostly correlated with the energy-dependent acceleration of ultrarelativistic electrons: Storms with higher solar wind speed and elevated and sustained substorm activity are more likely to cause flux enhancement of ultrarelativistic electrons with higher energies. This suggests the important roles of inward radial diffusion as well as the source and seed populations provided by substorms on the energy-dependent acceleration of ultrarelativistic electrons.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 03/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026257
In addition to clarifying morphological structures of the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts, it has also been a major achievement of the Van Allen Probes mission to understand more thoroughly how highly relativistic and ultrarelativistic electrons are accelerated deep inside the radiation belts. Prior studies have demonstrated that electrons up to energies of 10 megaelectron volts (MeV) can be produced over broad regions of the outer Van Allen zone on timescales of minutes to a few hours. It often is seen that geomagnetic activity driven by strong solar storms (i.e., coronal mass ejections, or CMEs) almost inexorably leads to relativistic electron production through the intermediary step of intense magnetospheric substorms. In this study, we report observations over the 6-year period 1 September 2012 to 1 September 2018. We focus on data about the relativistic and ultrarelativistic electrons (E>=5 MeV) measured by the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope sensors on board the Van Allen Probes spacecraft. This work portrays the radiation belt acceleration, transport, and loss characteristics over a wide range of geomagnetic events. We emphasize features seen repeatedly in the data (three-belt structures, \textquotedblleftimpenetrable\textquotedblright barrier properties, and radial diffusion signatures) in the context of acceleration and loss mechanisms. We especially highlight solar wind forcing of the ultrarelativistic electron populations and extended periods when such electrons were absent. The analysis includes new display tools showing spatial features of the mission-long time variability of the outer Van Allen belt emphasizing the remarkable dynamics of the system.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 03/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026259
Energy coupling between the solar wind and the Earth\textquoterights magnetosphere can affect the electron population in the outer radiation belt. However, the precise role of different internal and external mechanisms that leads to changes of the relativistic electron population is not entirely known. This paper describes how Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) wave activity during the passage of Alfv\ enic solar wind streams contributes to the global recovery of the relativistic electron population in the outer radiation belt. To investigate the contribution of the ULF waves, we searched the Van Allen Probes data for a period in which we can clearly distinguish the enhancement of electron fluxes from the background. We found that the global recovery that started on September 22, 2014, which coincides with the corotating interaction region preceding a high-speed stream and the occurrence of persistent substorm activity, provides an excellent scenario to explore the contribution of ULF waves. To support our analyses, we employed ground and space-based observational data, global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations, and calculated the ULF wave radial diffusion coefficients employing an empirical model. Observations show a gradual increase of electron fluxes in the outer radiation belt and a concomitant enhancement of ULF activity that spreads from higher to lower L-shells. MHD simulation results agree with observed ULF wave activity in the magnetotail, which leads to both fast and Alfv\ en modes in the magnetospheric nightside sector. The observations agree with the empirical model and are confirmed by Phase Space Density (PhSD) calculations for this global recovery period.
Da Silva, L.; Sibeck, D.; Alves, L.; Souza, V.; Jauer, P.; Claudepierre, S.; Marchezi, J.; Agapitov, O.; Medeiros, C.; Vieira, L.; Wang, C.; Jiankui, S.; Liu, Z.; Gonzalez, W.; Dal Lago, A.; Rockenbach, M.; Padua, M.; Alves, M.; Barbosa, M.; Fok, M.-C.; Baker, D.; Kletzing, C.; Kanekal, S.; Georgiou, M.;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 02/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026184
A statistical study was conducted of Earth\textquoterights radiation belt electron response to geomagnetic storms using NASA\textquoterights Van Allen Probes mission. Data for electrons with energies ranging from 30 keV to 6.3 MeV were included and examined as a function of L-shell, energy, and epoch time during 110 storms with SYM-H <=-50 nT during September 2012 to September 2017 (inclusive). The radiation belt response revealed clear energy and L-shell dependencies, with tens of keV electrons enhanced at all L-shells (2.5 <= L <= 6) in all storms during the storm commencement and main phase and then quickly decaying away during the early recovery phase, low hundreds of keV electrons enhanced at lower L-shells (~3 <= L <= ~4) in upward of 90\% of all storms and then decaying gradually during the recovery phase, and relativistic electrons throughout the outer belt showing main phase dropouts with subsequent and generally unpredictable levels of replenishment during the recovery phase. Compared to prestorm levels, electrons with energies >1 MeV also revealed a marked increase in likelihood of a depletion at all L-shells through the outer belt (3.5 <= L <= 6). Additional statistics were compiled revealing the storm time morphology of the radiation belts, confirming the aforementioned qualitative behavior. Considering storm drivers in the solar wind: storms driven by coronal mass ejection (CME) shocks/sheaths and CME ejecta only are most likely to result in a depletion of >1-MeV electrons throughout the outer belt, while storms driven by full CMEs and stream interaction regions are most likely to produce an enhancement of MeV electrons at lower (L < ~5) and higher (L > ~4.5) L-shells, respectively. CME sheaths intriguingly result in a distinct enhancement of ~1-MeV electrons around L~5.5, and on average, CME sheaths and stream interaction regions result in double outer belt structures.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 01/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026066
Shortly after the launch of the Van Allen Probes, a new three-belt configuration of the electron radiation belts was reported. Using data between September 2012 and November 2017, we have identified 30 three-belt events and found that about 18\% of geomagnetic storms result in such configuration. Based on the identified events, we evaluated some characteristics of the remnant (intermediate) belt. We determined the energy range of occurrence and found it peaks at E = 5.2 MeV. We also determined that the magnetopause location and SYM-H value may play an important role in the outer belt losses that lead to formation and location of the remnant belt. Finally, we calculated the decay rates of the remnant belt for all events and found that their lifetime gets longer as energy increases, ranging from days at E = 1.8 MeV up to months at E = 6.3 MeV suggesting that remnant belts are extremely persistent.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 10/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1029/2018GL080274
Inward radial diffusion driven by ULF waves has long been known to be capable of accelerating radiation belt electrons to very high energies within the heart of the belts, but more recent work has shown that radial diffusion values can be highly event-specific and mean values or empirical models may not capture the full significance of radial diffusion to acceleration events. Here we present an event of fast inward radial diffusion, occurring during a period following the geomagnetic storm of 17 March 2015. Ultra-relativistic electrons up to \~8 MeV are accelerated in the absence of intense higher-frequency plasma waves, indicating an acceleration event in the core of the outer belt driven primarily or entirely by ULF wave-driven diffusion. We examine this fast diffusion rate along with derived radial diffusion coefficients using particle and fields instruments on the Van Allen Probes spacecraft mission.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 09/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1029/2018GL079786
This paper presents observations of EMIC waves from multiple data sources during the four GEM challenge events in 2013 selected by the GEM \textquotedblleftQuantitative Assessment of Radiation Belt Modeling\textquotedblright focus group: March 17-18 (Stormtime Enhancement), May 31-June 2 (Stormtime Dropout), September 19-20 (Non-storm Enhancement), and September 23-25 (Non-storm Dropout). Observations include EMIC wave data from the Van Allen Probes, GOES, and THEMIS spacecraft in the near-equatorial magnetosphere and from several arrays of ground-based search coil magnetometers worldwide, as well as localized ring current proton precipitation data from low-altitude POES spacecraft. Each of these data sets provides only limited spatial coverage, but their combination shows consistent occurrence patterns and reveals some events that would not be identified as significant using near-equatorial spacecraft alone. Relativistic and ultrarelativistic electron flux observations, phase space density data, and pitch angle distributions based on data from the REPT and MagEIS instruments on the Van Allen Probes during these events show two cases during which EMIC waves are likely to have played an important role in causing major flux dropouts of ultrarelativistic electrons, particularly near L* ~ 4.0. In three other cases identifiable smaller and more short-lived dropouts appeared, and in five other cases these waves evidently had little or no effect.
Engebretson, M.; Posch, J.; Braun, D.; Li, W.; Ma, Q.; Kellerman, A.; Huang, C.-L.; Kanekal, S.; Kletzing, C.; Wygant, J.; Spence, H.; Baker, D.; Fennell, J.; Angelopoulos, V.; Singer, H.; Lessard, M.; Horne, R.; Raita, T.; Shiokawa, K.; Rakhmatulin, R.; Dmitriev, E.; Ermakova, E.;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 07/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA025505
The ultrarelativistic electrons (E > ~3 MeV) in the outer radiation belt received limited attention in the past due to sparse measurements. Nowadays, the Van Allen Probes measurements of ultrarelativistic electrons with high energy resolution provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the dynamics of this population. In this study, using data from the Van Allen Probes, we report significant flux enhancements of ultrarelativistic electrons with energies up to 7.7 MeV during a small to moderate geomagnetic storm. The underlying physical mechanisms are investigated by analyzing and simulating the evolution of electron phase space density. The results suggest that during this storm, the acceleration mechanism for ultrarelativistic electrons in the outer belt is energy-dependent: local acceleration plays the most important role in the flux enhancements of ~3\textendash5 MeV electrons, while inward radial diffusion is the main acceleration mechanism for ~7 MeV electrons at the center of the outer radiation belt.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 06/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1029/2018GL078582
Based on over 4 years of Van Allen Probes measurements, an empirical model of radiation belt electron equatorial pitch angle distribution (PAD) is constructed. The model, developed by fitting electron PADs with Legendre polynomials, provides the statistical PADs as a function of L-shell (L=1 \textendash 6), magnetic local time (MLT), electron energy (~30 keV \textendash 5.2 MeV), and geomagnetic activity (represented by the Dst index), and is also the first empirical PAD model in the inner belt and slot region. For MeV electrons, model results show more significant day-night PAD asymmetry of electrons with higher energies and during disturbed times, which is caused by geomagnetic field configuration and flux radial gradient changes. Steeper PADs with higher fluxes around 90\textdegree pitch angle (PA) and lower fluxes at lower PAs for higher energy electrons and during active times are also present, which could be due to EMIC wave scattering. For 100s of keV electrons, cap PADs are generally present in the slot region during quiet times and their energy-dependent features are consistent with hiss wave scattering, while during active times, cap PADs are less significant especially at outer part of slot region, which could be due to the complex energizing and transport processes. 90\textdegree-minimum PADs are persistently present in the inner belt and appear in the slot region during active times, and minima at 90\textdegree PA are more significant for electrons with higher energies, which could be a critical evidence in identifying the underlying physical processes responsible for the formation of 90\textdegree-minimum PADs.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 04/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA025277
An empirical model of the proton radiation belt is constructed from data taken during 2013\textendash2017 by the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescopes on the Van Allen Probes satellites. The model intensity is a function of time, kinetic energy in the range 18\textendash600 MeV, equatorial pitch angle, and L shell of proton guiding centers. Data are selected, on the basis of energy deposits in each of the nine silicon detectors, to reduce background caused by hard proton energy spectra at low L. Instrument response functions are computed by Monte Carlo integration, using simulated proton paths through a simplified structural model, to account for energy loss in shielding material for protons outside the nominal field of view. Overlap of energy channels, their wide angular response, and changing satellite orientation require the model dependencies on all three independent variables be determined simultaneously. This is done by least squares minimization with a customized steepest descent algorithm. Model uncertainty accounts for statistical data error and systematic error in the simulated instrument response. A proton energy spectrum is also computed from data taken during the 8 January 2014 solar event, to illustrate methods for the simpler case of an isotropic and homogeneous model distribution. Radiation belt and solar proton results are compared to intensities computed with a simplified, on-axis response that can provide a good approximation under limited circumstances.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 01/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024661
Using measurements from the Van Allen Probes, a penetration event of 10s \textendash 100s of keV electrons and 10s of keV protons into the low L-shells (L<4) is studied. Timing and magnetic local time (MLT) differences of energetic particle deep penetration are unveiled and underlying physical processes are examined. During this event, both proton and electron penetrations are MLT-asymmetric. The observed MLT difference of proton penetration is consistent with convection of plasma sheet protons, suggesting enhanced convection during geomagnetic active times to be the cause of energetic proton deep penetration during this event. The observed MLT difference of 10s \textendash 100s of keV electron penetration is completely different from 10s of keV protons and cannot be well explained by inward radial diffusion, convection of plasma sheet electrons, or transport of trapped electrons by enhanced convection electric field represented by the Volland-Stern model or a uniform dawn-dusk electric field model based on the electric field measurements. It suggests that the underlying physical mechanism responsible for energetic electron deep penetration, which is very important for fully understanding energetic electron dynamics in the low L-shells, should be MLT-localized.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 11/2017
YEAR: 2017   DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024558
Using Van Allen Probes ECT-REPT observations we performed a statistical study on the effect of geomagnetic storms on relativistic electrons fluxes in the outer radiation belt for 78 storms between September 2012 and June 2016. We found that the probability of enhancement, depletion and no change in flux values depends strongly on L and energy. Enhancement events are more common for \~ 2 MeV electrons at L \~ 5, and the number of enhancement events decreases with increasing energy at any given L shell. However, considering the percentage of occurrence of each kind of event, enhancements are more probable at higher energies, and the probability of enhancement tends to increases with increasing L shell. Depletion are more probable for 4-5 MeV electrons at the heart of the outer radiation belt, and no change events are more frequent at L < 3.5 for E\~ 3 MeV particles. Moreover, for L > 4.5 the probability of enhancement, depletion or no-change response presents little variation for all energies. Because these probabilities remain relatively constant as a function of radial distance in the outer radiation belt, measurements obtained at Geosynchronous orbit may be used as a proxy to monitor E>=1.8 MeV electrons in the outer belt.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 10/2017
YEAR: 2017   DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024735
Numerical simulation studies of the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts are important to understand the acceleration and loss of energetic electrons. The Comprehensive Inner Magnetosphere-Ionosphere (CIMI) model considers the effects of the ring current and plasmasphere on the radiation belts to obtain plausible results. The CIMI model incorporates pitch angle, energy, and cross diffusion of electrons, due to chorus and plasmaspheric hiss waves. These parameters are calculated using statistical wave distribution models of chorus and plasmaspheric hiss amplitudes. However, currently these wave distribution models are based only on a single parameter, geomagnetic index (AE), and could potentially underestimate the wave amplitudes. Here we incorporate recently developed multi-parameter chorus and plasmaspheric hiss wave models based on geomagnetic index and solar wind parameters. We then perform CIMI simulations for two geomagnetic storms and compare the flux enhancement of MeV electrons with data from the Van Allen Probes and Akebono satellites. We show that the relativistic electron fluxes calculated with multi-parameter wave models resembles the observations more accurately than the relativistic electron fluxes calculated with single-parameter wave models. This indicates that wave models based on a combination of geomagnetic index and solar wind parameters are more effective as inputs to radiation belt models.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 08/2017
YEAR: 2017   DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024159
Using observations from NASA\textquoterights Van Allen Probes, we study the role of sudden particle enhancements at low L-shells (SPELLS) as a source of inner radiation belt electrons. SPELLS events are characterized by electron intensity enhancements of approximately an order of magnitude or more in less than one day at L < 3. During quiet and average geomagnetic conditions, the phase space density radial distributions for fixed first and second adiabatic invariants are peaked at 2 < L < 3 for electrons ranging in energy from ~50 keV to ~1 MeV, indicating that slow inward radial diffusion is not the dominant source of inner belt electrons under quiet/average conditions. During SPELLS events, the evolution of electron distributions reveals an enhancement of phase space density that can exceed three orders of magnitude in the slot region and continues into the inner radiation belt, which is evidence that these events are an important - and potentially dominant - source of inner belt electrons. Electron fluxes from September 2012 through February 2016 reveal that SPELLS occur frequently (~2.5/month at 200 keV), but the number of observed events decreases exponentially with increasing electron energy for >=100 keV. After SPELLS events, the slot region reforms due to slow energy-dependent decay over several day timescales, consistent with losses due to interactions with plasmaspheric hiss. Combined, these results indicate that the peaked phase space density distributions in the inner electron radiation belt result from an \textquotedbllefton/off\textquotedblright, geomagnetic-activity-dependent source from higher radial distances.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 12/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/2016JA023600
2720 Energetic Particles; trapped; 2730 Magnetosphere: inner; 2774 Radiation belts; 7807 Charged particle motion and acceleration; 7984 Space radiation environment; energetic particle injections; inner magnetosphere; Radiation belts; relativistic electrons; Van Allen Probes
We conduct a statistical study on the sudden response of outer radiation belt electrons due to interplanetary (IP) shocks during the Van Allen Probes era, i.e., 2012 to 2015. Data from the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope instrument on board Van Allen Probes are used to investigate the highly relativistic electron response (E > 1.8 MeV) within the first few minutes after shock impact. We investigate the relationship of IP shock parameters, such as Mach number, with the highly relativistic electron response, including spectral properties and radial location of the shock-induced injection. We find that the driving solar wind structure of the shock does not affect occurrence for enhancement events, 25\% of IP shocks are associated with prompt energization, and 14\% are associated with MeV electron depletion. Parameters that represent IP shock strength are found to correlate best with highest levels of energization, suggesting that shock strength may play a key role in the severity of the enhancements. However, not every shock results in an enhancement, indicating that magnetospheric preconditioning may be required.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 12/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071628
Several energetic particle sensors designed to make measurements in the current decade are described and their technology and capabilities discussed and demonstrated. Most of these instruments are already on orbit or approaching launch. These include the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometers (MagEIS) and the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope (REPT) that are flying on the Van Allen Probes, the Fly\textquoterights Eye Electron Proton Spectrometers (FEEPS) flying on the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, and Dosimeters flying on the AC6 Cubesat mission. We focus mostly on the electron measurement capability of these sensors while providing summary comments of their ion measurement capabilities if they have any.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 09/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/2016JA022588
Trapped electrons in Earth\textquoterights outer Van Allen radiation belt are influenced profoundly by solar phenomena such as high-speed solar wind streams, coronal mass ejections (CME), and interplanetary (IP) shocks. In particular, strong IP shocks compress the magnetosphere suddenly and result in rapid energization of electrons within minutes. It is believed that the electric fields induced by the rapid change in the geomagnetic field are responsible for the energization. During the latter part of March 2015, a CME impact led to the most powerful geomagnetic storm (minimum Dst = -223 nT at 17 March, 23 UT) observed not only during the Van Allen Probe era but also the entire preceding decade. Magnetospheric response in the outer radiation belt eventually resulted in elevated levels of energized electrons. The CME itself was preceded by a strong IP shock whose immediate effects vis-a-vis electron energization were observed by sensors on board the Van Allen Probes. The comprehensive and high-quality data from the Van Allen Probes enable the determination of the location of the electron injection, timescales, and spectral aspects of the energized electrons. The observations clearly show that ultrarelativistic electrons with energies E > 6 MeV were injected deep into the magnetosphere at L ≈ 3 within about 2 min of the shock impact. However, electrons in the energy range of ≈250 keV to ≈900 keV showed no immediate response to the IP shock. Electric and magnetic fields resulting from the shock-driven compression complete the comprehensive set of observations that provide a full description of the near-instantaneous electron energization.
Kanekal, S.; Baker, D.; Fennell, J.; Jones, A.; Schiller, Q.; Richardson, I.; Li, X.; Turner, D.; Califf, S.; Claudepierre, S.; Wilson, L.; Jaynes, A.; Blake, J.; Reeves, G.; Spence, H.; Kletzing, C.; Wygant, J.;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 08/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/2016JA022596
Van Allen Probes observations during the 17 March 2015 major geomagnetic storm strongly suggest that VLF transmitter-induced waves play an important role in sculpting the earthward extent of outer zone MeV electrons. A magnetically confined bubble of very low frequency (VLF) wave emissions of terrestrial, human-produced origin surrounds the Earth. The outer limit of the VLF bubble closely matches the position of an apparent barrier to the inward extent of multi-MeV radiation belt electrons near 2.8 Earth radii. When the VLF transmitter signals extend beyond the eroded plasmapause, electron loss processes set up near the outer extent of the VLF bubble create an earthward limit to the region of local acceleration near L = 2.8 as MeV electrons are scattered into the atmospheric loss cone.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 06/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/jgra.v121.610.1002/2016JA022509
Various physical processes are known to cause acceleration, loss, and transport of energetic electrons in the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts, but their quantitative roles in different time and space need further investigation. During the largest storm over the past decade (17 March 2015), relativistic electrons experienced fairly rapid acceleration up to ~7 MeV within 2 days after an initial substantial dropout, as observed by Van Allen Probes. In the present paper, we evaluate the relative roles of various physical processes during the recovery phase of this large storm using a 3-D diffusion simulation. By quantitatively comparing the observed and simulated electron evolution, we found that chorus plays a critical role in accelerating electrons up to several MeV near the developing peak location and produces characteristic flat-top pitch angle distributions. By only including radial diffusion, the simulation underestimates the observed electron acceleration, while radial diffusion plays an important role in redistributing electrons and potentially accelerates them to even higher energies. Moreover, plasmaspheric hiss is found to provide efficient pitch angle scattering losses for hundreds of keV electrons, while its scattering effect on > 1 MeV electrons is relatively slow. Although an additional loss process is required to fully explain the overestimated electron fluxes at multi-MeV, the combined physical processes of radial diffusion and pitch angle and energy diffusion by chorus and hiss reproduce the observed electron dynamics remarkably well, suggesting that quasi-linear diffusion theory is reasonable to evaluate radiation belt electron dynamics during this big storm.
Li, W.; Ma, Q.; Thorne, R.; Bortnik, J.; Zhang, X.-J.; Li, J.; Baker, D.; Reeves, G.; Spence, H.; Kletzing, C.; Kurth, W.; Hospodarsky, G.; Blake, J.; Fennell, J.; Kanekal, S.; Angelopoulos, V.; Green, J.; Goldstein, J.;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 06/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/jgra.v121.610.1002/2016JA022400
Analysis of particle pitch angle distributions (PADs) has been used as a means to comprehend a multitude of different physical mechanisms that lead to flux variations in the Van Allen belts and also to particle precipitation into the upper atmosphere. In this work we developed a neural network-based data clustering methodology that automatically identifies distinct PAD types in an unsupervised way using particle flux data. One can promptly identify and locate three well-known PAD types in both time and radial distance, namely, 90\textdegree peaked, butterfly, and flattop distributions. In order to illustrate the applicability of our methodology, we used relativistic electron flux data from the whole month of November 2014, acquired from the Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope instrument on board the Van Allen Probes, but it is emphasized that our approach can also be used with multiplatform spacecraft data. Our PAD classification results are in reasonably good agreement with those obtained by standard statistical fitting algorithms. The proposed methodology has a potential use for Van Allen belt\textquoterights monitoring.
Souza, V.; Vieira, L.; Medeiros, C.; Da Silva, L.; Alves, L.; Koga, D.; Sibeck, D.; Walsh, B.; Kanekal, S.; Jauer, P.; Rockenbach, M.; Dal Lago, A.; Silveira, M.; Marchezi, J.; Mendes, O.; Gonzalez, W.; Baker, D.;
Published by: Space Weather Published on: 04/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/2015SW001349
Radiation belt protons in the kinetic energy range 24 to 76 MeV are being measured by the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope on each of the two Van Allen Probes. Data have been processed for the purpose of studying variability in the trapped proton intensity during October 2013 to August 2015. For the lower energies (≲32 MeV), equatorial proton intensity near L = 2 showed a steady increase that is consistent with inward diffusion of trapped solar protons, as shown by positive radial gradients in phase space density at fixed values of the first two adiabatic invariants. It is postulated that these protons were trapped with enhanced efficiency during the 7 March 2012 solar proton event. A model that includes radial diffusion, along with known trapped proton source and loss processes, shows that the observed average rate of increase near L = 2 is predicted by the same model diffusion coefficient that is required to form the entire proton radiation belt, down to low L, over an extended (\~103 year) interval. A slower intensity decrease for lower energies near L = 1.5 may also be caused by inward diffusion, though it is faster than predicted by the model. Higher-energy (≳40 MeV) protons near the L = 1.5 intensity maximum are from cosmic ray albedo neutron decay. Their observed intensity is lower than expected by a factor \~2, but the discrepancy is resolved by adding an unspecified loss process to the model with a mean lifetime \~120 years.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 03/2016
YEAR: 2016   DOI: 10.1002/2015JA022154
During early November 2013, the magnetosphere experienced concurrent driving by a coronal mass ejection (CME) during an ongoing high-speed stream (HSS) event. The relativistic electron response to these two kinds of drivers, i.e., HSS and CME, is typically different, with the former often leading to a slower buildup of electrons at larger radial distances, while the latter energizing electrons rapidly with flux enhancements occurring closer to the Earth.We present a detailed analysis of the relativistic electron response including radial profiles of phase space density as observed by both MagEIS and REPT instruments on the Van Allen Probes mission. Data from the MagEIS instrument establishes the behavior of lower energy (<1MeV) electrons which span both intermediary and seed populations during electron energization. Measurements characterizing the plasma waves and magnetospheric electric and magnetic fields during this period are obtained by the EMFISIS instrument on board Van Allen Probes, SCM and FGM instruments onboard THEMIS, and the low altitude polar orbiting POES satellite. These observations suggest that, during this time period, both radial transport and local in-situ processes are involved in the energization of electrons. The energization attributable to radial diffusion is most clearly evident for the lower energy (<1MeV) electrons, while the effects of in-situ energization by interaction of chorus waves are prominent in the higher energy electrons.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 09/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021395
Determining preferential solar wind conditions leading to efficient radiation belt electron acceleration is crucial for predicting radiation belt electron dynamics. Using Van Allen Probes electron observations (>1 MeV) from 2012 to 2015, we identify a number of efficient and inefficient acceleration events separately to perform a superposed epoch analysis of the corresponding solar wind parameters and geomagnetic indices. By directly comparing efficient and inefficient acceleration events, we clearly show that prolonged southward Bz, high solar wind speed, and low dynamic pressure are critical for electron acceleration to >1 MeV energies in the heart of the outer radiation belt. We also evaluate chorus wave evolution using the superposed epoch analysis for the identified efficient and inefficient acceleration events and find that chorus wave intensity is much stronger and lasts longer during efficient electron acceleration events, supporting the scenario that chorus waves play a key role in MeV electron acceleration.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 09/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2015GL065342
Strong enhancements of outer Van Allen belt electrons have been shown to have a clear dependence on solar wind speed and on the duration of southward interplanetary magnetic field. However, individual case study analyses also have demonstrated that many geomagnetic storms produce little in the way of outer belt enhancements and, in fact, may produce substantial losses of relativistic electrons. In this study, focused upon a key period in August-September 2014, we use GOES geostationary orbit electron flux data and Van Allen Probes particle and fields data to study the process of radiation belt electron acceleration. One particular interval, 13-22 September, initiated by a short-lived geomagnetic storm and characterized by a long period of primarily northward IMF, showed strong depletion of relativistic electrons (including an unprecedented observation of long-lasting depletion at geostationary orbit) while an immediately preceding, and another immediately subsequent, storm showed strong radiation belt enhancement. We demonstrate with these data that two distinct electron populations resulting from magnetospheric substorm activity are crucial elements in the ultimate acceleration of highly relativistic electrons in the outer belt: the source population (tens of keV) that give rise to VLF wave growth; and the seed population (hundreds of keV) that are, in turn, accelerated through VLF wave interactions to much higher energies. ULF waves may also play a role by either inhibiting or enhancing this process through radial diffusion effects. If any components of the inner magnetospheric accelerator happen to be absent, the relativistic radiation belt enhancement fails to materialize.
Jaynes, A.N.; Baker, D.N.; Singer, H.J.; Rodriguez, J.V.; Loto\textquoterightaniu, T.M.; Ali, A.; Elkington, S.R.; Li, X.; Kanekal, S.G.; Fennell, J.F.; Li, W.; Thorne, R.M.; Kletzing, C.A.; Spence, H.E.; Reeves, G.D.;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 07/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021234
Fifteen months of pitch angle resolved Van Allen Probes REPT measurements of differential electron flux are analyzed to investigate the characteristic variability of the pitch angle distribution (PAD) of radiation belt ultra-relativistic (>2 MeV) electrons during storm conditions and during the long-term post-storm decay. By modeling the ultra-relativistic electron pitch angle distribution as sinn α, where α is the equatorial pitch angle, we examine the spatio-temporal variations of the n-value. The results show that in general n-values increase with the level of geomagnetic activity. In principle, ultra-relativistic electrons respond to geomagnetic storms by becoming more peaked at 90\textdegree pitch angle with n-values of 2\textendash3 as a supportive signature of chorus acceleration outside the plasmasphere. High n-values also exist inside the plasmasphere, being localized adjacent to the plasmapause and exhibiting energy dependence, which suggests a significant contribution from EMIC waves scattering. During quiet periods, n-values generally evolve to become small, i.e., 0\textendash1. The slow and long-term decays of the ultra-relativistic electrons after geomagnetic storms, while prominent, produce energy and L-shell dependent decay timescales in association with the solar and geomagnetic activity and wave-particle interaction processes. At lower L shells inside the plasmasphere, the decay timescales τd for electrons at REPT energies are generally larger, varying from tens of days to hundreds of days, which can be mainly attributed to the combined effect of hiss induced pitch angle scattering and inward radial diffusion. As L shell increases to L ~ 3.5, a narrow region exists (with a width of ~0.5 L) where the observed ultra-relativistic electrons decay fastest, possibly resulting from efficient EMIC wave scattering. As L shell continues to increase, τd generally becomes larger again, indicating an overall slower loss process by waves at high L shells. Our investigation based upon the sinn α function fitting and the estimate of decay timescale offers a convenient and useful means to evaluate the underlying physical processes that play a role in driving the acceleration and loss of ultra-relativistic electrons and to assess their relative contributions.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 05/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021065
We describe a method for using drift echo signatures in on-orbit data to resolve discrepancies between different measurements of particle flux. The drift period has a well-defined energy dependence, which gives rise to time dispersion of the echoes. The dispersion can then be used to determine the effective energy for one or more channels given each channel\textquoterights drift period and the known energy for a reference channel. We demonstrate this technique on multiple instruments from the Van Allen probes mission. Drift echoes are only easily observed at high energies (100s keV to multiple MeV), where several drift periods occur before the observing satellite has moved on or the global magnetic conditions have changed. We describe a first-order correction for spacecraft motion. The drift echo technique has provided a significant clue in resolving substantial flux discrepancies between two instruments measuring fluxes near 2 MeV.
O\textquoterightBrien, T.P.; Claudepierre, S.G.; Looper, M.D.; Blake, J.B.; Fennell, J.F.; Clemmons, J.H.; Roeder, J.L.; Kanekal, S.G.; Manweiler, J.W.; Mitchell, D.G.; Gkioulidou, M.; Lanzerotti, L.J.; Spence, H.E.; Reeves, G.D.; Baker, D.N.;
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 02/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020859
No instruments in the inner radiation belt are immune from the unforgiving penetration of the highly energetic protons (10s of MeV to GeV). The inner belt proton flux level, however, is relatively stable, thus for any given instrument, the proton contamination often leads to a certain background noise. Measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile) on board Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat, in a low Earth orbit, clearly demonstrate that there exist sub-MeV electrons in the inner belt because of their flux level is orders of magnitude higher than the background, while higher energy electron (>1.6 MeV) measurements cannot be distinguished from the background. Detailed analysis of high-quality measurements from the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope (REPT) on board Van Allen Probes, in a geo-transfer-like orbit, provides, for the first time, quantified upper limits on MeV electron fluxes in various energy ranges in the inner belt. These upper limits are rather different from flux levels in the AE8 and AE9 models, which were developed based on older data sources. For 1.7, 2.5, and 3.3 MeV electrons, the upper limits are about one order of magnitude lower than predicted model fluxes. The implication of this difference is profound in that unless there are extreme solar wind conditions, which have not happened yet since the launch of Van Allen Probes, significant enhancements of MeV electrons do not occur in the inner belt even though such enhancements are commonly seen in the outer belt.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 01/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020777
To effectively study steady loss due to hiss-driven precipitation of relativistic electrons in the outer radiation belt, it is useful to isolate this loss by studying a time of relatively quiet geomagnetic activity. We present a case of initial enhancement and slow, steady decay of 700 keV - 2 MeV electron populations in the outer radiation belt during an extended quiescent period from ~15 December 2012 - 13 January 2013. We incorporate particle measurements from a constellation of satellites, including the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) CubeSat, the Van Allen Probes twin spacecraft, and THEMIS, to understand the evolution of the electron populations across pitch angle and energy. Additional data from calculated phase space density (PSD), as well as hiss and chorus wave data from Van Allen Probes, helps complete the picture of the slow precipitation loss of relativistic electrons during a quiet time. Electron loss to the atmosphere during this event is quantified through use of the Loss Index Method, utilizing CSSWE measurements at LEO. By comparing these results against equatorial Van Allen Probes electron flux data, we conclude the net precipitation loss of the outer radiation belt content to be greater than 92\%, suggesting no significant acceleration during this period, and resulting in faster electron loss rates than have previously been reported.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 12/2014
YEAR: 2014   DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020125
Early observations1, 2 indicated that the Earth\textquoterights Van Allen radiation belts could be separated into an inner zone dominated by high-energy protons and an outer zone dominated by high-energy electrons. Subsequent studies3, 4 showed that electrons of moderate energy (less than about one megaelectronvolt) often populate both zones, with a deep \textquoteleftslot\textquoteright region largely devoid of particles between them. There is a region of dense cold plasma around the Earth known as the plasmasphere, the outer boundary of which is called the plasmapause. The two-belt radiation structure was explained as arising from strong electron interactions with plasmaspheric hiss just inside the plasmapause boundary5, with the inner edge of the outer radiation zone corresponding to the minimum plasmapause location6. Recent observations have revealed unexpected radiation belt morphology7, 8, especially at ultrarelativistic kinetic energies9, 10 (more than five megaelectronvolts). Here we analyse an extended data set that reveals an exceedingly sharp inner boundary for the ultrarelativistic electrons. Additional, concurrently measured data11 reveal that this barrier to inward electron radial transport does not arise because of a physical boundary within the Earth\textquoterights intrinsic magnetic field, and that inward radial diffusion is unlikely to be inhibited by scattering by electromagnetic transmitter wave fields. Rather, we suggest that exceptionally slow natural inward radial diffusion combined with weak, but persistent, wave\textendashparticle pitch angle scattering deep inside the Earth\textquoterights plasmasphere can combine to create an almost impenetrable barrier through which the most energetic Van Allen belt electrons cannot migrate.
Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Hoxie, V.; Thorne, R.; Foster, J.; Li, X.; Fennell, J.; Wygant, J.; Kanekal, S.; Erickson, P.; Kurth, W.; Li, W.; Ma, Q.; Schiller, Q.; Blum, L.; Malaspina, D.; Gerrard, A.; Lanzerotti, L.;
Published by: Nature Published on: 11/2014
YEAR: 2014   DOI: 10.1038/nature13956
Measurements of inner radiation belt protons have been made by the Van Allen Probes Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescopes as a function of kinetic energy (24 to 76 MeV), equatorial pitch angle, and magnetic L shell, during late-2013 and early-2014. A probabilistic data analysis method reduces background from contamination by higher energy protons. Resulting proton intensities are compared to predictions of a theoretical radiation belt model. Then trapped protons originating both from cosmic ray albedo neutron decay (CRAND) and from trapping of solar protons are evident in the measured distributions. An observed double-peaked distribution in L is attributed, based on the model comparison, to a gap in the occurrence of solar proton events during the 2007 to 2011 solar minimum. Equatorial pitch angle distributions show that trapped solar protons are confined near the magnetic equator, but that CRAND protons can reach low-altitudes. Narrow pitch angle distributions near the outer edge of the inner belt are characteristic of proton trapping limits.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 08/2014
YEAR: 2014   DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020188
Local acceleration driven by whistler-mode chorus waves is fundamentally important for accelerating seed electron populations to highly relativistic energies in the outer radiation belt. In this study, we quantitatively evaluate chorus-driven electron acceleration during the 17 March 2013 storm, when the Van Allen Probes observed very rapid electron acceleration up to several MeV within ~12 hours. A clear radial peak in electron phase space density (PSD) observed near L* ~4 indicates that an internal local acceleration process was operating. We construct the global distribution of chorus wave intensity from the low-altitude electron measurements made by multiple Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) satellites over a broad region, which is ultimately used to simulate the radiation belt electron dynamics driven by chorus waves. Our simulation results show remarkable agreement in magnitude, timing, energy dependence, and pitch angle distribution with the observed electron PSD near its peak location. However, radial diffusion and other loss processes may be required to explain the differences between the observation and simulation at other locations away from the PSD peak. Our simulation results, together with previous studies, suggest that local acceleration by chorus waves is a robust and ubiquitous process and plays a critical role in accelerating injected seed electrons with convective energies (~100 keV) to highly relativistic energies (several MeV).
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 06/2014
YEAR: 2014   DOI: 10.1002/jgra.v119.610.1002/2014JA019945
The relativistic electrons in the inner radiation belt have received little attention in the past due to sparse measurements and unforgiving contamination from the inner belt protons. The high-quality measurements of the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer instrument onboard Van Allen Probes provide a great opportunity to investigate the dynamics of relativistic electrons in the low L region. In this letter, we report the newly unveiled pitch angle distribution (PAD) of the energetic electrons with minima at 90\textdegree near the magnetic equator in the inner belt and slot region. Such a PAD is persistently present throughout the inner belt and appears in the slot region during storms. One hypothesis for 90\textdegree minimum PADs is that off 90\textdegree electrons are preferentially heated by chorus waves just outside the plasmapause (which can be at very low L during storms) and/or fast magnetosonic waves which exist both inside and outside the plasmasphere.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 04/2014
YEAR: 2014   DOI: 10.1002/2014GL059725
The dual-spacecraft Van Allen Probes mission has provided a new window into mega electron volt (MeV) particle dynamics in the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts. Observations (up to E ~10 MeV) show clearly the behavior of the outer electron radiation belt at different timescales: months-long periods of gradual inward radial diffusive transport and weak loss being punctuated by dramatic flux changes driven by strong solar wind transient events. We present analysis of multi-MeV electron flux and phase space density (PSD) changes during March 2013 in the context of the first year of Van Allen Probes operation. This March period demonstrates the classic signatures both of inward radial diffusive energization and abrupt localized acceleration deep within the outer Van Allen zone (L ~4.0 \textpm 0.5). This reveals graphically that both \textquotedblleftcompeting\textquotedblright mechanisms of multi-MeV electron energization are at play in the radiation belts, often acting almost concurrently or at least in rapid succession.
Baker, D.; Jaynes, A.; Li, X.; Henderson, M.; Kanekal, S.; Reeves, G.; Spence, H.; Claudepierre, S.; Fennell, J.; Hudson, M.; Thorne, R.; Foster, J.; Erickson, P.; Malaspina, D.; Wygant, J.; Boyd, A.; Kletzing, C.; Drozdov, A.; Shprits, Y;
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 03/2014
YEAR: 2014   DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058942
In many ways, James A. Van Allen defined and \textquotedblleftinvented\textquotedblright modern space research. His example showed the way for government-university partners to pursue basic research that also served important national and international goals. He was a tireless advocate for space exploration and for the role of space science in the spectrum of national priorities.
Published by: Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union Published on: 12/2013
YEAR: 2013   DOI: 10.1002/eost.v94.4910.1002/2013EO490001
Recent analysis of satellite data obtained during the 9 October 2012 geomagnetic storm identified the development of peaks in electron phase space density1, which are compelling evidence for local electron acceleration in the heart of the outer radiation belt2, 3, but are inconsistent with acceleration by inward radial diffusive transport4, 5. However, the precise physical mechanism responsible for the acceleration on 9 October was not identified. Previous modelling has indicated that a magnetospheric electromagnetic emission known as chorus could be a potential candidate for local electron acceleration6, 7, 8, 9, 10, but a definitive resolution of the importance of chorus for radiation-belt acceleration was not possible because of limitations in the energy range and resolution of previous electron observations and the lack of a dynamic global wave model. Here we report high-resolution electron observations11 obtained during the 9 October storm and demonstrate, using a two-dimensional simulation performed with a recently developed time-varying data-driven model12, that chorus scattering explains the temporal evolution of both the energy and angular distribution of the observed relativistic electron flux increase. Our detailed modelling demonstrates the remarkable efficiency of wave acceleration in the Earth\textquoterights outer radiation belt, and the results presented have potential application to Jupiter, Saturn and other magnetized astrophysical objects.
Thorne, R.; Li, W.; Ni, B.; Ma, Q.; Bortnik, J.; Chen, L.; Baker, D.; Spence, H.; Reeves, G.; Henderson, M.; Kletzing, C.; Kurth, W.; Hospodarsky, G.; Blake, J.; Fennell, J.; Claudepierre, S.; Kanekal, S.;
Published by: Nature Published on: 12/2013
YEAR: 2013   DOI: 10.1038/nature12889
The Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope (REPT) Instrument on Board the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) Spacecraft: Characterization of Earth\textquoterights Radiation Belt High-Energy Particle Populations
Particle acceleration and loss in the million electron Volt (MeV) energy range (and above) is the least understood aspect of radiation belt science. In order to measure cleanly and separately both the energetic electron and energetic proton components, there is a need for a carefully designed detector system. The Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope (REPT) on board the Radiation Belt Storm Probe (RBSP) pair of spacecraft consists of a stack of high-performance silicon solid-state detectors in a telescope configuration, a collimation aperture, and a thick case surrounding the detector stack to shield the sensors from penetrating radiation and bremsstrahlung. The instrument points perpendicular to the spin axis of the spacecraft and measures high-energy electrons (up to \~20 MeV) with excellent sensitivity and also measures magnetospheric and solar protons to energies well above E=100 MeV. The instrument has a large geometric factor (g=0.2 cm2 sr) to get reasonable count rates (above background) at the higher energies and yet will not saturate at the lower energy ranges. There must be fast enough electronics to avert undue dead-time limitations and chance coincidence effects. The key goal for the REPT design is to measure the directional electron intensities (in the range 10-2\textendash106 particles/cm2 s sr MeV) and energy spectra (ΔE/E\~25 \%) throughout the slot and outer radiation belt region. Present simulations and detailed laboratory calibrations show that an excellent design has been attained for the RBSP needs. We describe the engineering design, operational approaches, science objectives, and planned data products for REPT.
Baker, D.; Kanekal, S.; Hoxie, V.; Batiste, S.; Bolton, M.; Li, X.; Elkington, S.; Monk, S.; Reukauf, R.; Steg, S.; Westfall, J.; Belting, C.; Bolton, B.; Braun, D.; Cervelli, B.; Hubbell, K.; Kien, M.; Knappmiller, S.; Wade, S.; Lamprecht, B.; Stevens, K.; Wallace, J.; Yehle, A.; Spence, H.; Friedel, R.;
Published by: Space Science Reviews Published on: 11/2013
YEAR: 2013   DOI: 10.1007/s11214-012-9950-9
The Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP)-Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma (ECT) suite contains an innovative complement of particle instruments to ensure the highest quality measurements ever made in the inner magnetosphere and radiation belts. The coordinated RBSP-ECT particle measurements, analyzed in combination with fields and waves observations and state-of-the-art theory and modeling, are necessary for understanding the acceleration, global distribution, and variability of radiation belt electrons and ions, key science objectives of NASA\textquoterights Living With a Star program and the Van Allen Probes mission. The RBSP-ECT suite consists of three highly-coordinated instruments: the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS), the Helium Oxygen Proton Electron (HOPE) sensor, and the Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope (REPT). Collectively they cover, continuously, the full electron and ion spectra from one eV to 10\textquoterights of MeV with sufficient energy resolution, pitch angle coverage and resolution, and with composition measurements in the critical energy range up to 50 keV and also from a few to 50 MeV/nucleon. All three instruments are based on measurement techniques proven in the radiation belts. The instruments use those proven techniques along with innovative new designs, optimized for operation in the most extreme conditions in order to provide unambiguous separation of ions and electrons and clean energy responses even in the presence of extreme penetrating background environments. The design, fabrication and operation of ECT spaceflight instrumentation in the harsh radiation belt environment ensure that particle measurements have the fidelity needed for closure in answering key mission science questions. ECT instrument details are provided in companion papers in this same issue. In this paper, we describe the science objectives of the RBSP-ECT instrument suite on the Van Allen Probe spacecraft within the context of the overall mission objectives, indicate how the characteristics of the instruments satisfy the requirements to achieve these objectives, provide information about science data collection and dissemination, and conclude with a description of some early mission results.
Spence, H.; Reeves, G.; Baker, D.; Blake, J.; Bolton, M.; Bourdarie, S.; Chan, A.; Claudpierre, S.; Clemmons, J.; Cravens, J.; Elkington, S.; Fennell, J.; Friedel, R.; Funsten, H.; Goldstein, J.; Green, J.; Guthrie, A.; Henderson, M.; Horne, R.; Hudson, M.; Jahn, J.-M.; Jordanova, V.; Kanekal, S.; Klatt, B.; Larsen, B.; Li, X.; MacDonald, E.; Mann, I.R.; Niehof, J.; O\textquoterightBrien, T.; Onsager, T.; Salvaggio, D.; Skoug, R.; Smith, S.; Suther, L.; Thomsen, M.; Thorne, R.;
Published by: Space Science Reviews Published on: 11/2013
YEAR: 2013   DOI: DOI: 10.1007/s11214-013-0007-5