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Resonant acceleration and diffusion of outer zone electrons in an asymmetric geomagnetic field

AuthorElkington, Scot;
KeywordsRadial Transport
Abstract[1] The outer zone radiation belt consists of energetic electrons drifting in closed orbits encircling the Earth between \~3 and 7 RE. Electron fluxes in the outer belt show a strong correlation with solar and magnetospheric activity, generally increasing during geomagnetic storms with associated high solar wind speeds, and increasing in the presence of magnetospheric ULF waves in the Pc-5 frequency range. In this paper, we examine the influence of Pc-5 ULF waves on energetic electrons drifting in an asymmetric, compressed dipole and find that such particles may be efficiently accelerated through a drift-resonant interaction with the waves. We find that the efficiency of this acceleration increases with increasing magnetospheric distortion (such as may be attributed to increased solar wind pressure associated with high solar wind speeds) and with increasing ULF wave activity. A preponderance of ULF power in the dawn and dusk flanks is shown to be consistent with the proposed acceleration mechanism. Under a continuum of wave modes and frequencies, we find that the drift resonant acceleration process leads to additional modes of radial diffusion in the outer belts, with timescales that may be appropriate to those observed during geomagnetic storms.
Year of Publication2003
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Number of Pages
Date Published03/2003