Gradual diffusion and punctuated phase space density enhancements of highly relativistic electrons: Van Allen Probes observations

D. N. Baker, A. N. Jaynes, X. Li, M. G. Henderson, S. G. Kanekal, G. D. Reeves, H. E. Spence, S. G. Claudepierre, J. F. Fennell, M. K. Hudson, R. M. Thorne, J. C. Foster, P. J. Erickson, D. M. Malaspina, J. R. Wygant, A. Boyd, C. A. Kletzing, A. Drozdov, Y. Y. Shprits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

The dual-spacecraft Van Allen Probes mission has provided a new window into mega electron volt (MeV) particle dynamics in the Earth's radiation belts. Observations (up to E ~10 MeV) show clearly the behavior of the outer electron radiation belt at different timescales: months-long periods of gradual inward radial diffusive transport and weak loss being punctuated by dramatic flux changes driven by strong solar wind transient events. We present analysis of multi-MeV electron flux and phase space density (PSD) changes during March 2013 in the context of the first year of Van Allen Probes operation. This March period demonstrates the classic signatures both of inward radial diffusive energization and abrupt localized acceleration deep within the outer Van Allen zone (L ~4.0 ± 0.5). This reveals graphically that both "competing" mechanisms of multi-MeV electron energization are at play in the radiation belts, often acting almost concurrently or at least in rapid succession. Key Points Clear observations to higher energy than ever before Precise detection of where and how acceleration takes place Provides "new eyes" on megaelectron Volt

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1351-1358
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2014

Keywords

  • radiation belt acceleration

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Gradual diffusion and punctuated phase space density enhancements of highly relativistic electrons: Van Allen Probes observations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this