Cluster observation of few-hour-scale evolution of structured plasma in the inner magnetosphere
Abstract. Using Cluster Ion Spectrometry (CIS) data from the spacecraft-4 perigee traversals during the 2001–2006 period (nearly 500 traversals after removing those that are highly contaminated by radiation belt particles), we statistically examined the local time distribution of structured trapped ions at sub- to few-keV range as well as inbound–outbound differences of these ion signatures in intensities and energy–latitude dispersion directions. Since the Cluster orbit during this period was almost constant and approximately north–south symmetric at nearly constant local time near the perigee, inbound–outbound differences are attributed to temporal developments in a 1–2 h timescale. Three types of structured ions at sub- to few keV range that are commonly found in the inner magnetosphere are examined:
– Energy–latitude dispersed structured ions at less than a few keV,
– Short-lived dispersionless ion stripes at wide energy range extending 0.1–10 keV,
– Short-lived low-energy ion bursts at less than a few hundred eV.
The statistics revealed that the wedge-like dispersed ions are most often observed in the dawn sector (60% of traversals), and a large portion of them show significant enhancement during the traversals at all local times. The short-lived ion stripes are predominantly found near midnight, where most stripes are significantly enhanced during the traversals and are associated with substorm activities with geomagnetic AL < −300 nT. The low-energy bursts are observed at all local times and under all geomagnetic conditions, with moderate peak of the occurrence rate in the afternoon sector. A large portion of them again show significant enhancement or decay during the traversals.