Simulation of the acceleration of relativistic electrons in the inner magnetosphere using RCM-VERB coupled codes

Radiation belt dynamics have been modeled by the modified Fokker-Planck diffusion equation with sources from the low-energy plasma sheet population and losses to the atmosphere and magnetopause. We perform a coupled simulation of the Rice Convection Model (RCM) and Versatile Electron Radiation Belt (VERB) code. The RCM models magnetospheric convection and provides a low-energy electron seed population for the VERB diffusion code simulations of the Earth's radiation belts. VERB simulations are driven by the realistic time-dependent electron seed population and by the Kp index, which is used to specify rates of diffusion by ultralow frequency (ULF) and very low frequency wave activity and, therefore, diffusion processes. Radial diffusion is produced by ULF waves, while pitch angle and energy diffusion are produced by chorus waves outside the plasmasphere and by hiss waves inside the plasmasphere. The results of the simulation indicate that storm time enhanced magnetospheric convection combined with radial diffusion can bring electrons with tens of keV energy close to the Earth and can affect electron fluxes at 3-4 R(E). These electrons can be further accelerated locally by chorus waves to MeV energies. Furthermore, outward radial diffusion smooths out the peak of the high-energy fluxes and produces MeV electron enhancement around geosynchronous orbit (6-7 R(E)) despite the absence of local electron acceleration in that region. Our coupled simulations indicate that local acceleration in the inner magnetosphere may be a dominant source of relativistic electrons that reach geosynchronous orbit.


Publication status:
Authors: Subbotin, D.A., Shprits, Y.Y., Gkioulidou, M., Lyons, L.R., Ni, B., Merkin, V.G., Toffoletto, F.R., Thorne, R.M., Horne, R.B. ORCIDORCID record for R.B. Horne, Hudson, M.K.

On this site: Richard Horne
1 August, 2011
Journal of Geophysical Research / 116
Link to published article: