On the Relative Strength of Electric and Magnetic ULF Wave Radial Diffusion During the March 2015 Geomagnetic Storm

L. Olifer, I. R. Mann, L. G. Ozeke, I. J. Rae, S. K. Morley

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In this paper, we study electron radial diffusion coefficients derived from Pc4‐Pc5 ultralow frequency (ULF) wave power during the intense geomagnetic storm on 17–18 March 2015. During this storm the population of highly relativistic electrons was depleted within 2 hr of the storm commencement. This radial diffusion, depending upon the availability of source populations, can cause outward radial diffusion of particles and their loss to the magnetosheath, or inward transport and acceleration. Analysis of electromagnetic field measurements from Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite (GOES), Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) satellite, and ground‐based magnetometers shows that the main phase storm‐specific radial diffusion coefficients do not correspond to statistical estimates. Specifically, during the main phase, the electric diffusion ( urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0001) is reduced, and the magnetic diffusion ( urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0002) is increased, compared to empirical models based on Kp. Contrary to prior results, the main phase magnetic radial diffusion cannot be neglected. The largest discrepancies, and periods of dominance of urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0003 over urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0004, occur during intervals of strongly southward IMF. However, during storm recovery, both magnetic and electric diffusion rates are consistent with empirical estimates. We further verify observationally, for the first time, an energy coherence for both urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0005 and urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0006 where diffusion coefficients do not depend on energy. We show that, at least for this storm, properly characterizing main phase radial diffusion, potentially associated with enhanced ULF wave magnetopause shadowing losses, cannot be done with standard empirical models. Modifications, associated especially with southward IMF, which enhance the effects of urn:x-wiley:jgra:media:jgra54863:jgra54863-math-0007 and introduce larger main phase outward transport losses, are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2569-2587
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number4
Early online date8 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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