Articles | Volume 33, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 33, 1037–1050, 2015

Special issue: Dynamic processes in geospace

Ann. Geophys., 33, 1037–1050, 2015

Regular paper 20 Aug 2015

Regular paper | 20 Aug 2015

Magnetohydrodynamic modeling of three Van Allen Probes storms in 2012 and 2013

J. Paral1,3, M. K. Hudson1, B. T. Kress2, M. J. Wiltberger3, J. R. Wygant4, and H. J. Singer5 J. Paral et al.
  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3High Altitude Observatory, NCAR, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • 5NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. Coronal mass ejection (CME)-shock compression of the dayside magnetopause has been observed to cause both prompt enhancement of radiation belt electron flux due to inward radial transport of electrons conserving their first adiabatic invariant and prompt losses which at times entirely eliminate the outer zone. Recent numerical studies suggest that enhanced ultra-low frequency (ULF) wave activity is necessary to explain electron losses deeper inside the magnetosphere than magnetopause incursion following CME-shock arrival. A combination of radial transport and magnetopause shadowing can account for losses observed at radial distances into L = 4.5, well within the computed magnetopause location. We compare ULF wave power from the Electric Field and Waves (EFW) electric field instrument on the Van Allen Probes for the 8 October 2013 storm with ULF wave power simulated using the Lyon–Fedder–Mobarry (LFM) global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) magnetospheric simulation code coupled to the Rice Convection Model (RCM). Two other storms with strong magnetopause compression, 8–9 October 2012 and 17–18 March 2013, are also examined. We show that the global MHD model captures the azimuthal magnetosonic impulse propagation speed and amplitude observed by the Van Allen Probes which is responsible for prompt acceleration at MeV energies reported for the 8 October 2013 storm. The simulation also captures the ULF wave power in the azimuthal component of the electric field, responsible for acceleration and radial transport of electrons, at frequencies comparable to the electron drift period. This electric field impulse has been shown to explain observations in related studies (Foster et al., 2015) of electron acceleration and drift phase bunching by the Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite (ECT) instrument on the Van Allen Probes.