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Prompt energization of relativistic and highly relativistic electrons during a substorm interval

AuthorFoster, John; Erickson, Philip;
KeywordsMagnetic flux; Magnetosphere; Van Allen Belts; Van Allen Probes
AbstractOn 17 March 2013, a large magnetic storm significantly depleted the multi-MeV radiation belt. We present multi-instrument observations from the Van Allen Probes spacecraft Radiation Belt Storm Probe A and Radiation Belt Storm Probe B at \~6 Re in the midnight sector magnetosphere and from ground-based ionospheric sensors during a substorm dipolarization followed by rapid reenergization of multi-MeV electrons [1]. A 50\% increase in magnetic field magnitude occurred simultaneously with dramatic increases in 100 keV electron fluxes and a 100 times increase in VLF wave intensity. Chorus is excited following the injection of low-energy (1\textendash30 keV) plasma sheet electrons into the inner magnetosphere [2]. During the 17 March substorm injection, cold plasma that had circulated into the nightside magnetosphere from the dayside ionosphere-plasmasphere contributed to an energetic (50 keV) electron population involved in chorus-mode wave amplification [3]. The high-energy tail (>100 keV) of the injected electrons and the intense VLF waves provide a seed population and energy source for subsequent radiation belt energization. The observed electron flux behavior is striking in its large increases over short intervals. As seen by RBSP-A at L* \~ 4.5 highly relativistic (>2MeV) electron fluxes increased immediately at the time of the substorm injection and strong chorus enhancement. At RBSP-B, at apogee at substorm onset, observed in the \~5 h separation between L* = 4.0 crossings, 3.60 MeV highly relativistic electron fluxes increased by a factor of 56, while 4.50 MeV flux increased by an even larger factor of 95. The 17 March multipoint observations indicate the significant role that substorm processes can play in creating a seed population of 100 keV electrons and VLF chorus wave enhancements that can lead to a prompt energization of relativistic and highly relativistic electrons in the region outside the plasm- pause.
Year of Publication2014
Number of Pages
Date Published08/2014