Characterizing Total Radiation Belt Electron Content Using Van Allen Probes Data
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
The comprehensive particle and wave measurements of the Van Allen Probes enable us to monitor the entire radiation belt near the equator from L-shells of 2.5 to 6. Using the particle measurements, we create an improved, high-level quantity representing the entire outer belt. This quantity, the total radiation belt electron content (TRBEC), is the half-orbit sum of outer belt electrons over the radiation belt energy ranges of importance and all pitch angles using data from RBSP-ECT instrument on board both spacecraft. The goal is to characterize statistically the dynamics of the entire radiation belt by comparing TRBEC with solar wind parameters, magnetospheric waves, and electron seed population. When comparing TRBEC with solar wind velocity, our result shows a triangle-distribution similar to that which Reeves et al. (2011) found using geosynchronous electron flux. We also correlate TRBEC with other solar wind parameters to identify which solar wind conditions effectively enhance or deplete radiation belt electrons. In addition, plasma waves in the inner magnetosphere, via wave-particle interaction, are key elements affecting the dynamics of the radiation belt. Therefore, we compare TRBEC with integrated EMIC and chorus (upper and lower bands) wave power calculated from EMFISIS wave measurements to determine the relative importance between each wave-particle process. Finally, we demonstrate the ~100 keV seed population’s characteristics that correspond to the MeV population enhancement. While the gross features of the two populations are similar, the MeV population’s dynamics lag behind those of the seed population by 5 to 60 hours, which implies the acceleration or loss processes vary by event.