Drift orbit bifurcations and cross-field transport in the outer radiation belt: Global MHD and integrated test-particle simulations

Energetic particle fluxes in the outer magnetosphere present a significant challenge to modeling efforts as they can vary by orders of magnitude in response to solar wind driving conditions. In this study, we demonstrate the ability to propagate test particles through global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations to a high level of precision and use this to map the cross-field radial transport associated with relativistic electrons undergoing drift orbit bifurcations (DOBs). The simulations predict DOBs primarily occur within an Earth radius of the magnetopause loss cone and appear significantly different for southward and northward interplanetary magnetic field orientations. The changes to the second invariant are shown to manifest as a dropout in particle fluxes with pitch angles close to 90° and indicate DOBs are a cause of butterfly pitch angle distributions within the night-time sector. The convective electric field, not included in previous DOB studies, is found to have a significant effect on the resultant long-term transport, and losses to the magnetopause and atmosphere are identified as a potential method for incorporating DOBs within Fokker-Planck transport models.


Publication status:
Authors: Desai, R.T., Eastwood, J.P., Horne, R.B. ORCIDORCID record for R.B. Horne, Allison, H.J., Allanson, O., Watt, C.E.J., Eggington, J.W.B., Glauert, S.A. ORCIDORCID record for S.A. Glauert, Meredith, N.P. ORCIDORCID record for N.P. Meredith, Archer, M.O., Staples, F.A., Mejnertsen, L., Tong, J.K., Chittenden, J.P.

On this site: Nigel Meredith, Richard Horne, Sarah Glauert
30 September, 2021
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics / 126
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