Articles | Volume 32, issue 7
ANGEO Communicates
31 Jul 2014
ANGEO Communicates |  | 31 Jul 2014

Effects of cold electron number density variation on whistler-mode wave growth

R. Tang, D. Summers, and X. Deng

Abstract. We examine how the growth of magnetospheric whistler-mode waves depends on the cold (background) electron number density N0. The analysis is carried out by varying the cold-plasma parameter a = (electron gyrofrequency)2/(electron plasma frequency)2 which is proportional to 1/N0. For given values of the thermal anisotropy AT and the ratio Nh/N0, where Nh is the hot (energetic) electron number density, we find that, as N0 decreases, the maximum values of the linear and nonlinear growth rates decrease and the threshold wave amplitude for nonlinear growth increases. Generally, as N0 decreases, the region of (Nh/N0, AT)-parameter space in which nonlinear wave growth can occur becomes more limited; that is, as N0 decreases, the parameter region permitting nonlinear wave growth shifts to the top right of (Nh/N0, AT) space characterized by larger Nh/N0 values and larger AT values. The results have implications for choosing input parameters for full-scale particle simulations and also in the analysis of whistler-mode chorus data.