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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Abstract

    We report plasma wave observations of equatorial magnetosonic waves at integer harmonics of the local gyrofrequency of doubly ionized helium (). The waves were observed by Van Allen Probe A on 08 Feb 2014 when the spacecraft was in the afternoon magnetic local time sector nearinside of the plasmasphere. Analysis of the complementary in‐situ energetic ion measurements (1–300 keV) reveals the presence of a helium ion ring distribution centered near 30 keV. Theoretical linear growth rate calculations suggest that the local plasma and field conditions can support the excitation of the magnetosonic waves from the unstable ring distribution. This represents the first report of the generation of magnetosonic equatorial noise via a ring distribution in energeticions in the near‐Earth space plasma environment.

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  3. Abstract

    The very‐low frequency (VLF) and low frequency (LF) waves from ground transmitters propagate in the ionospheric waveguide, and a portion of their power leaks to the Earth's inner radiation belt and slot region where it can cause electron precipitation loss. Using Van Allen Probes observations, we perform a survey of the VLF and LF transmitter waves at frequencies from 14 to 200 kHz. The statistical electric and magnetic wave amplitudes and frequency spectra are obtained at 1 < L < 3. Based on a recent study on the propagation of VLF transmitter waves, we divide the total wave power into ducted and unducted portions, and model the wave normal angle of unducted waves with dependences onLshell, magnetic latitude, and wave frequency. At lower frequencies, the unducted waves are launched along the vertical direction and the wave normal angle increases during the propagation until reaching the Gendrin angle; at higher frequencies, the normal angle of unducted waves follows the variation of Gendrin angle. We calculate the bounce‐averaged pitch angle and momentum diffusion coefficients of electrons due to ducted and unducted VLF and LF waves. Unducted and ducted waves cause efficient pitch angle scattering atL = 1.5 and 2.5, respectively. Although the wave power from ground transmitters at frequencies higher than 30 kHz is low, these waves can cause the pitch angle scattering of lower energy (2–200 keV atL = 1.5) electrons, which cannot resonate with the VLF transmitter waves at frequencies below 30 kHz, lightning generated whistlers, or plasmaspheric hiss.

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  4. Abstract

    Dispersionless injections, involving sudden, simultaneous flux enhancements of energetic particles over some broad range of energy, are a characteristic signature of the particles that are experiencing a significant acceleration and/or rapid inward transport at the leading edge of injections. We have statistically analyzed data from Van Allen Probes (also known as Radiation Belt Storm Probes [RBSP]) to reveal where the proton (H+) and electron (e) dispersionless injections occur preferentially inside geosynchronous orbit and how they develop depending on local magnetic field changes. By surveying measurements of RBSP during four tail seasons in 2012–2019, we have identified 171 dispersionless injection events. Most of the events, which are accompanied by local magnetic dipolarizations, occur in the dusk‐to‐midnight sector, regardless of particle species. Out of the selected 171 events, 75 events exhibit dispersionless injections of both H+and e, which occur within 2 min of each other. With only three exceptions, the both‐species injection events are further divided into two main subgroups: One is the H+preceding eevents with a time offset of tens of seconds between H+and e, and the other the concurrent H+and eevents without any time offset. Our superposed epoch results raise the intriguing possibility that the presence or absence of a pronounced negative dip in the local magnetic field ahead of the concurrent sharp dipolarization determines which of the two subgroups will occur. The difference between the two subgroups may be explained in terms of the dawn‐dusk asymmetry of localized diamagnetic perturbations ahead of a deeply penetrating dipolarization front.

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  5. Abstract

    Four closely located satellites at and inside geosynchronous orbit (GEO) provided a great opportunity to study the dynamical evolution and spatial scale of premidnight energetic particle injections inside GEO during a moderate substorm on 23 December 2016. Just following the substorm onset, the four spacecraft, a LANL satellite at GEO, the two Van Allen Probes (also called “RBSP”) at ~5.8RE, and a THEMIS satellite at ~5.3RE, observed substorm‐related particle injections and local dipolarizations near the central meridian (~22 MLT) of a wedge‐like current system. The large‐scale evolution of the electron and ion (H, He, and O) injections was almost identical at the two RBSP spacecraft with ~0.5REapart. However, the initial short‐timescale particle injections exhibited a striking difference between RBSP‐A and ‐B: RBSP‐B observed an energy dispersionless injection which occurred concurrently with a transient, strong dipolarization front (DF) with a peak‐to‐peak amplitude of ~25 nT over ~25 s; RBSP‐A measured a dispersed/weaker injection with no corresponding DF. The spatiotemporally localized DF was accompanied by an impulsive, westward electric field (~20 mV m−1). The fast, impulsiveE × Bdrift caused the radial transport of the electron and ion injection regions from GEO to ~5.8RE. The penetrating DF fields significantly altered the rapid energy‐ and pitch angle‐dependent flux changes of the electrons and the H and He ions inside GEO. Such flux distributions could reflect the transient DF‐related particle acceleration and/or transport processes occurring inside GEO. In contrast, O ions were little affected by the DF fields.

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  6. Abstract

    Lightning discharges are known to inject whistler waves into the inner magnetosphere over a wide region around their source. When a discharge occurs, it radiates electromagnetic energy into the Earth‐ionosphere waveguide, some of which couples into the whistler mode and propagates through the ionospheric plasma away from the Earth. Previous studies have discussed the effects of whistler‐induced electron precipitation and radiation belt losses associated with lightning. However, to date, there has been no research on the long‐term effects of this accumulated impact. Here, we use data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, which has continuously monitored global lightning activity since 2004, to obtain 1 year of lightning data and categorized them into L‐shell ranges, hemispheres, and magnetic local times. We then use Van Allen Probe's Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite from both satellites (RBSP‐A/B) to measure particle fluxes in the inner belts under the same criteria. We compare these two quantities by calculating the correlation coefficients between selected electron energy channels, including pitch angle distribution, and lightning activity under different conditions. Although we found a weak to moderate relationship between lightning activity and electron flux perturbations, the correlation was not as strong as expected from theoretical predictions. Variations in electron fluxes related to substorm activity were of the same order of magnitude as that from lightning activity, even at low L shells.

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  7. Abstract

    We present a global survey of energetic electron precipitation from the equatorial magnetosphere due to hiss waves in the plasmasphere and plumes. Using Van Allen Probes measurements, we calculate the pitch angle diffusion coefficients at the bounce loss cone, and evaluate the energy spectrum of precipitating electron flux. Our ∼6.5‐year survey shows that, during disturbed times, hiss inside the plasmasphere primarily causes the electron precipitation atL > 4 over 8 h < MLT < 18 h, and hiss waves in plumes cause the precipitation atL > 5 over 8 h < MLT < 14 h andL > 4 over 14 h < MLT < 20 h. The precipitating energy flux increases with increasing geomagnetic activity, and is typically higher in the plasmaspheric plume than the plasmasphere. The characteristic energy of precipitation increases from ∼20 keV atL = 6–∼100 keV atL = 3, potentially causing the loss of electrons at several hundred keV.

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  8. Abstract

    Whistler mode chorus waves can scatter plasma sheet electrons into the loss cone and produce the Earth's diffuse aurora. Van Allen Probes observed plasma sheet electron injections and intense chorus waves on 24 November 2012. We use quasilinear theory to calculate the precipitating electron fluxes, demonstrating that the chorus waves could lead to high differential energy fluxes of precipitating electrons with characteristic energies of 10–30 keV. Using this method, we calculate the precipitating electron flux from 2012 to 2019 when the Van Allen Probes were near the magnetic equator and perform global surveys of electron precipitation under different geomagnetic conditions. The most significant electron precipitation due to chorus is found from the nightside to dawn sectors over 4 < L < 6.5. The average total precipitating energy flux is enhanced during disturbed conditions, with time‐averaged values reaching ~3–10 erg/cm2/s whenAE ≥ 500 nT.

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