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Abstract This paper examines the rapid losses and acceleration of trapped relativistic and ultrarelativistic electron populations in the Van Allen radiation belt during the September 7-9, 2017, geomagnetic storm. By analyzing the dynamics of the last closed drift shell (LCDS) and the electron flux and phase space density (PSD), we show that the electron dropouts are consistent with magnetopause shadowing and outward radial diffusion to the compressed LCDS. During the recovery phase an in-bound pass of Van Allen Probe A shows an apparent local peak in PSD, but which does not exist. A careful analysis of the multipoint measurements by the Van Allen Probes reveals instead how the apparent PSD peak arises from aliasing monotonic PSD profiles which are rapidly increasing due to acceleration from very fast inwards radial diffusion. In the absence of such multi-satellite conjunctions during fast acceleration events, such peaks might otherwise be associated with local acceleration processes.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 05/2021
YEAR: 2021   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL092351
We present the temporal evolution of electron Phase Space Density (PSD) in the outer radiation belt during the intense March 2015 geomagnetic storm. Comparing observed PSD profiles as a function of L* at fixed first, M, and second, K, adiabatic invariants with those produced by simulations is critical for determining the physical processes responsible for the outer radiation belt dynamics. Here we show that the bulk of the accelerated and enhanced outer radiation belt population consists of electrons with K < 0.17 G1/2Re. For these electrons, the observed PSD versus L* profiles during the recovery phase of the storm have a positive radial gradient. We compare the observed temporal evolution of the PSD profiles during the recovery phase with those produced by radial diffusion simulations driven by observed Ultralow Frequency wave power as measured on the ground. Our results indicate that the dominant flux enhancement, inside L* < 5, in the heart of the outer radiation belt during the March 2015 geomagnetic storm is consistent with that produced by fast inward radial diffusion of electrons from a dynamic outer boundary driven by enhanced Ultralow Frequency wave power.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 01/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026326
We present observations of very fast radiation belt loss as resolved using high-time resolution electron flux data from the constellation of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The timescale of these losses is revealed to be as short as \~0.5 - 2 hours during intense magnetic storms, with some storms demonstrating almost total loss on these timescales and which we characterize as radiation belt extinction. The intense March 2013 and March 2015 storms both show such fast extinction, with a rapid recovery, while the September 2014 storm shows fast extinction but no recovery for around two weeks. By contrast, the moderate September 2012 storm which generated a three radiation belt morphology shows more gradual loss. We compute the last closed drift shell (LCDS) for each of these four storms and show a very strong correspondence between the LCDS and the loss patterns of trapped electrons in each storm. Most significantly, the location of the LCDS closely mirrors the high time resolution losses observed in GPS flux. The fast losses occur on a timescale shorter than the Van Allen Probes orbital period, are explained by proximity to the LCDS, and progress inward, consistent with outward transport to the LCDS by fast ULF wave radial diffusion. Expressing the location of the LCDS in L*, and not model magnetopause standoff distance in units of RE, clearly reveals magnetopause shadowing as the cause of the fast loss observed by the GPS satellites.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 04/2018
YEAR: 2018   DOI: 10.1029/2018JA025190