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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 15, 273–288, 1997
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-997-0273-1
© European Geosciences Union 1997
Ann. Geophys., 15, 273–288, 1997
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-997-0273-1
© European Geosciences Union 1997

  31 Mar 1997

31 Mar 1997

Identification of low-frequency kinetic wave modes in the Earth's ion foreshock

X. Blanco-Cano1 and S. J. Schwartz2 X. Blanco-Cano and S. J. Schwartz
  • 1Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, Coyoacán, D.F., CP 04510, México
  • 2Astronomy Unit, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Mile End Rd., London E1 4NS, United Kingdom

Abstract. In this work we use ion and magnetic field data from the AMPTE-UKS mission to study the characteristics of low frequency (ωr « Ωp) waves observed upstream of the Earth's bow shock. We test the application of various plasma-field correlations and magnetic ratios derived from linear Vlasov theory to identify the modes in this region. We evaluate (for a parameter space consistent with the ion foreshock) the Alfvén ratio, the parallel compressibility, the cross-helicity, the noncoplanar ratio, the magnetic compression and the polarization for the two kinetic instabilities that can be generated in the foreshock by the interaction of hot diffuse ions with the solar wind: the left-hand resonant and the right-hand resonant ion beam instabilities. Comparison of these quantities with the observed plasma-field correlations and various magnetic properties of the waves observed during 10 intervals on 30 October 1984, where the waves are associated with diffuse ions, allows us to identify regions with Alfvénic waves and regions where the predominant mode is the right-hand resonant instability. In all the cases the waves are transverse, propagating at angles ≤ 33° and are elliptically polarized. Our results suggest that while the observed Alfvén waves are generated locally by hot diffuse ions, the right-handed waves may result from the superposition of waves generated by two different types of beam distribution (i.e. cold beam and diffuse ions). Even when there was good agreement between the values of observed transport ratios and the values given by the theory, some discrepancies were found. This shows that the observed waves are different from the theoretical modes and that mode identification based only on polarization quantities does not give a complete picture of the waves' characteristics and can lead to mode identification of waves whose polarization may agree with theoretical predictions even when other properties can diverge from those of the theoretical modes.

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