Articles | Volume 32, issue 5
Regular paper
06 May 2014
Regular paper |  | 06 May 2014

Radiation belt data assimilation of a moderate storm event using a magnetic field configuration from the physics-based RAM-SCB model

Y. Yu, J. Koller, V. K. Jordanova, S. G. Zaharia, and H. C. Godinez

Abstract. Data assimilation using Kalman filters provides an effective way of understanding both spatial and temporal variations in the outer electron radiation belt. Data assimilation is the combination of in situ observations and physical models, using appropriate error statistics to approximate the uncertainties in both the data and the model. The global magnetic field configuration is one essential element in determining the adiabatic invariants for the phase space density (PSD) data used for the radiation belt data assimilation. The lack of a suitable global magnetic field model with high accuracy is still a long-lasting problem. This paper employs a physics-based magnetic field configuration for the first time in a radiation belt data assimilation study for a moderate storm event on 19 December 2002. The magnetic field used in our study is the magnetically self-consistent inner magnetosphere model RAM-SCB, developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Furthermore, we apply a cubic spline interpolation method in converting the differential flux measurements within the energy spectrum, to obtain a more accurate PSD input for the data assimilation than the commonly used linear interpolation approach. Finally, the assimilation is done using an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF), with a localized adaptive inflation (LAI) technique to appropriately account for model errors in the assimilation and improve the performance of the Kalman filter. The assimilative results are compared with results from another assimilation experiment using the Tsyganenko 2001S (T01S) magnetic field model, to examine the dependence on a magnetic field model. Results indicate that the data assimilations using different magnetic field models capture similar features in the radiation belt dynamics, including the temporal evolution of the electron PSD during a storm and the location of the PSD peak. The assimilated solution predicts the energy differential flux to a relatively good degree when compared with independent LANL-GEO in situ observations. A closer examination suggests that for the chosen storm event, the assimilation using the RAM-SCB predicts a better flux at most energy levels during storm recovery phase but is slightly worse in the storm main phase than the assimilation using the T01S model.