Simulating radial diffusion of energetic (MeV) electrons through a model of fluctuating electric and magnetic fields
- 1Lab. for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
- 2Demokritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece
- 3Space Sciences Lab, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Abstract. In the present work, a test particle simulation is performed in a model of analytic Ultra Low Frequency, ULF, perturbations in the electric and magnetic fields of the Earth's magnetosphere. The goal of this work is to examine if the radial transport of energetic particles in quiet-time ULF magnetospheric perturbations of various azimuthal mode numbers can be described as a diffusive process and be approximated by theoretically derived radial diffusion coefficients. In the model realistic compressional electromagnetic field perturbations are constructed by a superposition of a large number of propagating electric and consistent magnetic pulses. The diffusion rates of the electrons under the effect of the fluctuating fields are calculated numerically through the test-particle simulation as a function of the radial coordinate L in a dipolar magnetosphere; these calculations are then compared to the symmetric, electromagnetic radial diffusion coefficients for compressional, poloidal perturbations in the Earth's magnetosphere. In the model the amplitude of the perturbation fields can be adjusted to represent realistic states of magnetospheric activity. Similarly, the azimuthal modulation of the fields can be adjusted to represent different azimuthal modes of fluctuations and the contribution to radial diffusion from each mode can be quantified. Two simulations of quiet-time magnetospheric variability are performed: in the first simulation, diffusion due to poloidal perturbations of mode number m=1 is calculated; in the second, the diffusion rates from multiple-mode (m=0 to m=8) perturbations are calculated. The numerical calculations of the diffusion coefficients derived from the particle orbits are found to agree with the corresponding theoretical estimates of the diffusion coefficient within a factor of two.