Role of substorm-associated impulsive electric fields in the ring current development during storms
Abstract. Particles with different energies produce varying contributions to the total ring current energy density as the storm progresses. Ring current energy densities and total ring current energies were obtained using particle data from the Polar CAMMICE/MICS instrument during several storms observed during the years 1996-1998. Four different energy ranges for particles are considered: total (1-200keV), low (1-20keV), medium (20-80keV) and high (80-200keV). Evolution of contributions from particles with different energy ranges to the total energy density of the ring current during all storm phases is followed. To model this evolution we trace protons with arbitrary pitch angles numerically in the drift approximation. Tracing is performed in the large-scale and small-scale stationary and time-dependent magnetic and electric field models. Small-scale time-dependent electric field is given by a Gaussian electric field pulse with an azimuthal field component propagating inward with a velocity dependent on radial distance. We model particle inward motion and energization by a series of electric field pulses representing substorm activations during storm events. We demonstrate that such fluctuating fields in the form of localized electromagnetic pulses can effectively energize the plasma sheet particles to higher energies (>80keV) and transport them inward to closed drift shells. The contribution from these high energy particles dominates the total ring current energy during storm recovery phase. We analyse the model contributions from particles with different energy ranges to the total energy density of the ring current during all storm phases. By comparing these results with observations we show that the formation of the ring current is a combination of large-scale convection and pulsed inward shift and consequent energization of the ring current particles.