Transport of Solar Energetic Particles across the Parker field direction due to field line meandering
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Multi-spacecraft observations of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) show that the SEPs can spread large distances across the mean Parker spiral field. The SEPs accelerated during a solar eruption can be observed 360° around the Sun, and the dependence of SEP peak intensity on heliographic longitude at 1 AU has been fitted with Gaussian profiles with σ=30-50° for several events (e.g., Dresing et al 2014; Richardson et al 2014). SEP anisotropy measurements suggest that interplanetary transport is an important factor to the SEP cross-field extent (Dresing et al 2014). However, the currently used diffusive Fokker Planck (FP) description of SEP transport, with realistic diffusion coefficients, has been found insufficient to explain the SEP event cross-field extents. Recently Laitinen et al (2013) emphasised the importance of particle propagation along meandering field lines, which cannot be described as diffusion. They showed that early in an event field line meandering dominates particle cross-field transport and produces events wider than the FP description. They also introduced a new FP model that incorporates both field line meandering and SEP cross-field diffusion using stochastic differential equations and a constant background magnetic field. In this work, we implement the new FP model into Parker field geometry, to study the evolution of an SEP event in the interplanetary space. We compare the new model to the traditional FP approach by using particle and field line diffusion coefficients that are calculated consistently for both models using an assumed radial and spectral description of the turbulence evolution. We find that while the traditional SEP propagation modelling gives typically longitudinal extent with σ=10-20°, the new model results in values σ=30-50°, which is consistent with SEP observations. We conclude that field line meandering must be taken into account when modelling SEP propagation in the interplanetary space.