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Coordinates for Representing Radiation Belt Particle Flux

Fifty years have passed since the parameter \textquotedblleftL-star\textquotedblright was introduced in geomagnetically trapped particle dynamics. It is thus timely to review the use of adiabatic theory in present-day studies of the radiation belts, with the intention of helping to prevent common misinterpretations and the frequent confusion between concepts like \textquotedblleftdistance to the equatorial point of a field line,\textquotedblright McIlwain\textquoterights L-value, and the trapped particle\textquoterights adiabatic L* parameter. And too often do we miss in the recent literature a proper discussion of the extent to which some observed time and space signatures of particle flux could simply be due to changes in magnetospheric field, especially insofar as off-equatorial particles are concerned. We present a brief review on the history of radiation belt parameterization, some \textquotedblleftrecipes\textquotedblright on how to compute adiabatic parameters, and we illustrate our points with a real event in which magnetospheric disturbance is shown to adiabatically affect the particle fluxes measured onboard the Van Allen Probes.

Roederer, Juan; Lejosne, ène;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 02/2018

YEAR: 2018     DOI: 10.1002/2017JA025053

adiabatic coordinates; Radiation belts; Van Allen Probes


The \textquotedblleftzebra stripes\textquotedblright: An effect of F-region zonal plasma drifts on the longitudinal distribution of radiation belt particles

We examine a characteristic effect, namely, the ubiquitous appearance of structured peaks and valleys called zebra stripes in the spectrograms of energetic electrons and ions trapped in the inner belt below L ~ 3. We propose an explanation of this phenomenon as a purely kinematic consequence of particle drift velocity modulation caused by F region zonal plasma drifts in the ionosphere. In other words, we amend the traditional assumption that the electric field associated with ionospheric plasma drives trapped particle distributions into rigid corotation with the Earth. An equation based on a simple first-order model is set up to determine quantitatively the appearance of zebra stripes as a function of magnetic time. Our numerical predictions are in agreement with measurements by the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment detector onboard Van Allen Probes, namely: (1) the central energy of any peak identified in the spectrum on the dayside is the central energy of a spectral valley on the night side, and vice versa; (2) there is also an approximate peak-to-valley inversion when comparing the spectrum of trapped electrons with that of trapped ions in the same place; and (3) the actual energy separation between two consecutive peaks (or number of stripes) in the spectrogram of a trapped population is an indicator of the time spent by the particles drifting under quiet conditions.

Lejosne, Solène; Roederer, Juan;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 01/2016

YEAR: 2016     DOI: 10.1002/2015JA021925

electric field; Ionosphere; Inner radiation belt; Van Allen Probes; zebra stripes