Simulation of Prompt Acceleration of Radiation Belt Electrons during the 16 July 2017 storm

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Patel et al. observe that when an interplanetary shock launched from the Sun arrives at Earth, it compresses the dayside magnetic field and an impulse in electric and magnetic field propagates as a characteristic wave mode inside the magnetosphere toward the nightside.

Graph depicting a comparison of simulated and measured fluxes
Comparison of simulated and measured fluxes at 1.8, 2.1, 2.6, 3.4, 4.2 and 5.2 MeV energy channels for Probe A and B. The solid lines show the simulated flux calculated by running test particle simulations on MHD fields while the dashed lines show the REPT measurements at the equivalent energy channel and time. The figure shows how well the MHD and test particle simulation reproduces the drift echo peaks in all the energy channels excluding 5.2 MeV where the simulated counting statistics are poor.

This impulse caused MeV electrons to gain energy over a fraction of a drift period as they drift around the Earth. For the 16 July 2017 event, we estimated that electrons gained around 0.6 MeV in a matter of minutes as the impulse travelled from the dayside to the nightside. We reproduced the electron bunching in drift phase and energy spectra using simulations as compared to the observations from satellites.

Publication Name: Geophysical Research Letters
First HAO Author's Name: Maulik Patel