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Whistler-mode waves trapped by density irregularities in the Earth s magnetosphere

Abstract Whistler-mode waves are electromagnetic waves pervasively observed in the Earth s and other planetary magnetospheres. They are considered to be mainly responsible for producing the hazardous radiation and diffuse aurora, which heavily relies on their properties. Density irregularities, frequently observed in the Earth s magnetospheres, are found to change largely the properties of whistler-mode waves. Here we report, using Van Allen Probes measurements, whistler-mode waves strongly modulated by two different density enhancements. With particle-in-cell simulations, we propose wave trapping caused by field-aligned density irregularities (ducts) may account for this phenomenon. Simulation results show that whistler-mode waves can be trapped inside the enhanced density ducts. These trapped waves remain quasi-parallel and usually get much larger amplitudes than those unducted whistler waves during propagation away from the magnetic equator, and tend to focus at a spatially narrow channel, consistent with observations. Our results imply density irregularities may be significant to modulate radiation-belt electrons. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Ke, Yangguang; Chen, Lunjin; Gao, Xinliang; Lu, Quanming; Wang, Xueyi; Chen, Rui; Chen, Huayue; Wang, Shui;

Published by: Geophysical Research Letters      Published on: 03/2021

YEAR: 2021     DOI:

WHISTLER-MODE WAVES; density irregularities; Magnetosphere; Radiation belts; particle-in-cell simulation; Wave trapping; Van Allen Probes


One- and two-dimensional hybrid simulations of whistler mode waves in a dipole field

We simulate whistler mode waves using a hybrid code. There are four species in the simulations, hot electrons initialized with a bi-Maxwellian distribution with temperature in the direction perpendicular to background magnetic field greater than that in the parallel direction, warm isotropic electrons, cold inertialess fluid electrons, and protons as an immobile background. The density of the hot population is a small fraction of the total plasma density. Comparison between the dispersion relation of our model and other dispersion relations shows that our model is more accurate for lower frequency whistlers than for higher frequency whistlers. Simulations in 2-D Cartesian coordinates agree very well with those using a full dynamics code. In the 1-D simulations along the dipole magnetic field, the predicted frequency and wave number are observed. Rising tones are observed in the one-fourteenth scale simulations that have larger than realistic magnetic field spatial inhomogeneity. However, in the full-scale 1-D simulation in a dipole field, the waves are more broadband and do not exhibit rising tones. In the 2-D simulations in a meridional plane, the waves are generated with propagation approximately parallel to the background magnetic field. However, the wavefronts become oblique as they propagate to higher latitudes. Simulations with different plasma density profiles across L shell are performed to study the effect of the background density on whistler propagation.

Wu, S.; Denton, R.; Liu, K.; Hudson, M.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 03/2015

YEAR: 2015     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020736

hybrid simulation; particle-in-cell simulation; plasma waves; Whistler waves


Whistler Anisotropy Instabilities as the Source of Banded Chorus: Van Allen Probes Observations and Particle-in-Cell Simulations

Magnetospheric banded chorus is enhanced whistler waves with frequencies ωr < Ωe, where Ωe is the electron cyclotron frequency, and a characteristic spectral gap at ωr ≃ Ωe/2. This paper uses spacecraft observations and two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations in a magnetized, homogeneous, collisionless plasma to test the hypothesis that banded chorus is due to local linear growth of two branches of the whistler anisotropy instability excited by two distinct, anisotropic electron components of significantly different temperatures. The electron densities and temperatures are derived from HOPE instrument measurements on the Van Allen Probes A satellite during a banded chorus event on 1 November 2012. The observations are consistent with a three-component electron model consisting of a cold (a few tens of eV) population, a warm (a few hundred eV) anisotropic population, and a hot (a few keV) anisotropic population. The simulations use plasma and field parameters as measured from the satellite during this event except for two numbers: the anisotropies of the warm and the hot electron components are enhanced over the measured values in order to obtain relatively rapid instability growth. The simulations show that the warm component drives the quasi-electrostatic upper-band chorus, and that the hot component drives the electromagnetic lower-band chorus; the gap at \~ Ωe/2 is a natural consequence of the growth of two whistler modes with different properties.

Fu, Xiangrong; Cowee, Misa; Friedel, Reinhard; Funsten, Herbert; Gary, Peter; Hospodarsky, George; Kletzing, Craig; Kurth, William; Larsen, Brian; Liu, Kaijun; MacDonald, Elizabeth; Min, Kyungguk; Reeves, Geoffrey; Skoug, Ruth; Winske, Dan;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 10/2014

YEAR: 2014     DOI: 10.1002/2014JA020364

Chorus; HOPE; particle-in-cell simulation; Van Allen Probes