Using MEPED observations to infer plasma density and chorus intensity in the radiation belts

Efforts to model and predict energetic electron fluxes in the radiation belts are highly sensitive to local wave-particle interactions. In this study, we use multi-point measurements of precipitating and trapped electron fluxes to investigate the dynamic variation of chorus wave-particle interactions during the 17 March 2013 storm. Quasilinear theory characterizes the chorus wave-particle interaction as a diffusive process, with the diffusion coefficients depending on the particle energy and pitch angle, as well as the background plasma parameters such as the wave intensity and plasma density. These plasma parameters in the radiation belts are spatially localized and time-varying, so we construct event-specific diffusion coefficients using MEPED (onboard POES/MetOp) measurements of electron fluxes at low Earth orbit. This new method provides realistic diffusion coefficients for chorus waves that account for changes in the wave intensity, the plasma density, and the magnetic field strength in the outer radiation belt. We show that the inferred chorus intensity is significantly lower than previous estimates that use MEPED observations since the same amount of increased precipitation by 30–300 keV electrons can be explained by a change in the plasma density. This technique therefore allows for us to create time varying, global maps of the plasma-gyrofrequency ratio (fpe/fce), and therefore plasma density, in the outer radiation belts using the MEPED measurements. The global density estimates compare reasonably well to in situ density measurements from RBSP-B.


Publication status:
Authors: Longley, William J., Chan, Anthony A., Jaynes, Allison N., Elkington, Scot R., Pettit, Joshua M., Ross, Johnathan P. ORCIDORCID record for Johnathan P. Ross, Glauert, Sarah A. ORCIDORCID record for Sarah A. Glauert, Horne, Richard B. ORCIDORCID record for Richard B. Horne

On this site: Johnathan Ross, Richard Horne, Sarah Glauert
21 November, 2022
Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences / 9
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