Field-aligned chorus wave spectral power in Earth's outer radiation belt
Abstract. Chorus-type whistler waves are one of the most intense electromagnetic waves generated naturally in the magnetosphere. These waves have a substantial impact on the radiation belt dynamics as they are thought to contribute to electron acceleration and losses into the ionosphere through resonant wave–particle interaction. Our study is devoted to the determination of chorus wave power distribution on frequency in a wide range of magnetic latitudes, from 0 to 40°. We use 10 years of magnetic and electric field wave power measured by STAFF-SA onboard Cluster spacecraft to model the initial (equatorial) chorus wave spectral power, as well as PEACE and RAPID measurements to model the properties of energetic electrons (~ 0.1–100 keV) in the outer radiation belt. The dependence of this distribution upon latitude obtained from Cluster STAFF-SA is then consistently reproduced along a certain L-shell range (4 ≤ L ≤ 6.5), employing WHAMP-based ray tracing simulations in hot plasma within a realistic inner magnetospheric model. We show here that, as latitude increases, the chorus peak frequency is globally shifted towards lower frequencies. Making use of our simulations, the peak frequency variations can be explained mostly in terms of wave damping and amplification, but also cross-L propagation. These results are in good agreement with previous studies of chorus wave spectral extent using data from different spacecraft (Cluster, POLAR and THEMIS). The chorus peak frequency variations are then employed to calculate the pitch angle and energy diffusion rates, resulting in more effective pitch angle electron scattering (electron lifetime is halved) but less effective acceleration. These peak frequency parameters can thus be used to improve the accuracy of diffusion coefficient calculations.