Effect of plasma density on diffusion rates due to wave particle interactions with chorus and plasmaspheric hiss: extreme event analysis

Wave particle interactions play an important role in controlling the dynamics of the radiation belts. The purpose of this study is to estimate how variations in the plasma density can affect diffusion rates resulting from interactions between chorus waves and plasmaspheric hiss with energetic particles and the resulting evolution of the energetic electron population. We perform a statistical analysis of the electron density derived from the plasma wave experiment on the CRRES satellite for two magnetic local time sectors corresponding to near midnight and near noon. We present the cumulative probability distribution of the electron plasma density for three levels of magnetic activity as measured by Kp. The largest densities are seen near L* = 2.5 while the smallest occur near L* = 6. The broadest distribution, corresponding to the greatest variability, occurs near L* = 4. We calculate diffusion coefficients for plasmaspheric hiss and whistler mode chorus for extreme values of the electron density and estimate the effects on the radiation belts using the Salammbô model. At L* = 4 and L* = 6, in the low density case, using the density from the 5th percentile of the cumulative distribution function, electron energy diffusion by chorus waves is strongest at 2 MeV and increases the flux by up to 3 orders of magnitude over a period of 24 h. In contrast, in the high density case, using the density from the 95th percentile, there is little acceleration at energies above 800 keV at L* = 6, and virtually no acceleration at L* = 4. In this case the strongest energy diffusion occurs at lower energies around 400 keV where the flux at L* = 6 increases 3 orders of magnitude.


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Authors: Sicard-Piet, A., Boscher, D., Horne, R. B., Meredith, N. P., Maget, V.

On this site: Nigel Meredith, Richard Horne
1 August, 2014
Annales Geophysicae / 32
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