Modeling radiation belt radial diffusion in ULF wave fields: 1. Quantifying ULF wave power at geosynchronous orbit in observations and in global MHD model

Academic Article


  • To provide critical ULF wave field information for radial diffusion studies in the radiation belts, we quantify ULF wave power (f = 0.5–8.3 mHz) in GOES observations and magnetic field predictions from a global magnetospheric model. A statistical study of 9 years of GOES data reveals the wave local time distribution and power at geosynchronous orbit in field‐aligned coordinates as functions of wave frequency, solar wind conditions (Vx, ΔPd and IMF Bz) and geomagnetic activity levels (Kp, Dst and AE). ULF wave power grows monotonically with increasing solar wind Vx, dynamic pressure variations ΔPd and geomagnetic indices in a highly correlated way. During intervals of northward and southward IMF Bz, wave activity concentrates on the dayside and nightside sectors, respectively, due to different wave generation mechanisms in primarily open and closed magnetospheric configurations. Since global magnetospheric models have recently been used to trace particles in radiation belt studies, it is important to quantify the wave predictions of these models at frequencies relevant to electron dynamics (mHz range). Using 27 days of real interplanetary conditions as model inputs, we examine the ULF wave predictions modeled by the Lyon‐Fedder‐Mobarry magnetohydrodynamic code. The LFM code does well at reproducing, in a statistical sense, the ULF waves observed by GOES. This suggests that the LFM code is capable of modeling variability in the magnetosphere on ULF time scales during typical conditions. The code provides a long‐missing wave field model needed to quantify the interaction of radiation belt electrons with realistic, global ULF waves throughout the inner magnetosphere.
  • Authors

  • Huang, Chia-Lin
  • Spence, Harlan
  • Singer, Howard J
  • Hughes, W Jeffrey
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • June 25, 2010
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • n/a
  • End Page

  • n/a
  • Volume

  • 115
  • Issue

  • A6