Articles | Volume 27, issue 4
01 Apr 2009
 | 01 Apr 2009

Dual source populations of substorm-associated ring current ions

M. Yamauchi, Y. Ebihara, I. Dandouras, and H. Rème

Abstract. Sources of low-energy ring current ions in the early morning sector (eastward drifting energy domain of about <5 keV) are examined using both statistical analyses and numerical tracing methods (phase-space mapping and simulation). In about 90% of Cluster perigee traversals at 02~07 local time, these low-energy ring current ions have dual ion populations: one is wedge-like energy-dispersed ions, and the other is a band-like ions over different latitudes in a narrow energy range at the upper energy threshold of the wedge-like energy-dispersed ions. Both components are most likely created during past substorm activities. Numerical tracing results strongly suggest that these two components have different sources with different temperatures and elapsed times. The band-like part most likely comes from ions with plasma sheet temperature (~1 keV), and the energy-dispersed part most likely comes from cold ions (temperature <0.1 keV). The source density of the cold component (0.2~0.5×106/m3) is slightly less than that of the hot component (0.5×106/m3), while Cluster observation shows slightly higher density for the wedge-like part than the low-energy band-like part. The hot source component also explains the observed high-energy (>10 keV) ions drifting westward after adiabatic energization in the nightside under time-varying electric field. The wedge-like part has much shorter elapsed time, i.e., less charge-exchange loss, than the band-like part.