Modeling radiation belt radial diffusion in ULF wave fields: 2. Estimating rates of radial diffusion using combined MHD and particle codes

Academic Article


  • [1] Quantifying radial transport of radiation belt electrons in ULF wave fields is essential for understanding the variability of the trapped relativistic electrons. To estimate the radial diffusion coefficients (DLL), we follow MeV electrons in realistic magnetospheric configurations and wave fields calculated from a global MHD code. We create idealized pressure-driven MHD simulations for controlled solar wind velocities (hereafter referred to as pressure-driven Vx simulations) with ULF waves that are comparable to GOES data under similar conditions, by driving the MHD code with synthetic pressure profiles that mimic the pressure variations of a particular solar wind velocity. The ULF wave amplitude, in both magnetic and electric fields, increases at larger radial distance and during intervals with higher solar wind velocity and pressure fluctuations. To calculate DLL as a function of solar wind velocity (Vx = 400 and 600 km/s), we follow 90 degree pitch angle electrons in magnetic and electric fields of the pressure-driven Vx simulations. DLL is higher at larger radial distance and for the case with higher solar wind velocity and pressure variations. Our simulated DLL values are relatively small compared to previous studies which used larger wave fields in their estimations. For comparison, we scale our DLL values to match the wave amplitudes of the previous studies with those of the idealized MHD simulations. After the scaling, our DLL values for Vx = 600 km/s are comparable to theDLL values derived from Polar measurements during nonstorm intervals. This demonstrates the use of MHD models to quantify the effect of pressure-driven ULF waves on radiation belt electrons and thus to differentiate the radial diffusive process from other mechanisms.
  • Authors

  • Huang, Chia-Lin
  • Spence, Harlan
  • Hudson, Mary K
  • Elkington, Scot R
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • June 25, 2010
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • n/a
  • End Page

  • n/a
  • Volume

  • 115
  • Issue

  • A6