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Outer zone relativistic electron acceleration associated with substorm-enhanced whistler mode chorus

Meredith, N.P.; Horne, R.B.; Iles, R.H.A.; Thorne, R.M.; Heynderickx, D.; Anderson, R.R.. 2002 Outer zone relativistic electron acceleration associated with substorm-enhanced whistler mode chorus. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107 (A7), 1144. 14, pp. 10.1029/2001JA900146

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Abstract/Summary

[1] We present plasma wave and particle data from the CRRES satellite during three case studies to investigate the viability of a local stochastic electron acceleration mechanism to relativistic energies driven by resonant interactions with whistler mode chorus. We first consider a strong geomagnetic storm that contains prolonged substorm activity during its 3-day recovery phase. The recovery phase is characterized by electron injections at subrelativistic energies, enhanced whistler mode chorus amplitudes, and a gradual increase in the flux of relativistic electrons (E > 1 MeV) over the entire outer zone, with fluxes exceeding the prestorm level by an order of magnitude in the region 3.5 < L < 4.5. We next consider a strong geomagnetic storm that contains very little substorm activity during its 3-day recovery phase. Here the recovery phase is characterized by a lack of sustained electron injections at subrelativistic energies, a low level of chorus amplitudes, and a net reduction in the flux of relativistic electrons in the outer zone. Finally, we examine a period of prolonged substorm activity in the absence of a significant storm signature, as measured by Dst. This period is characterized by electron injections at subrelativistic energies, enhanced chorus amplitudes, and a gradual increase in the flux of relativistic electrons in the region 4 < L < 6.5. These results suggest that the gradual acceleration of electrons to relativistic energies seen on a timescale of days during geomagnetic storms can be effective only when there are periods of prolonged substorm activity following the main phase of the geomagnetic storm. Furthermore, gradual electron acceleration to relativistic energies can be obtained during periods of prolonged substorm activity in the absence of a significant storm signature as indicated by Dst. The case studies show that the acceleration mechanism is confined to the region outside of the plasmapause and occurs in the presence of enhanced chorus waves. These results suggest that a local acceleration mechanism involving the energization of a seed population of electrons with energies of the order of a few hundred keV to relativistic energies by wave-particle interactions involving whistler mode chorus contributes to the reformation of the relativistic outer zone population following prolonged substorm activity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2001JA900146
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Magnetic Reconnection, Substorms and their Consequences
ISSN: 0148-0227
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Physics
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 11 Aug 2010 09:07
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/10171

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