Articles | Volume 34, issue 6
Regular paper
13 Jun 2016
Regular paper |  | 13 Jun 2016

Calculating ultra-low-frequency wave power of the compressional magnetic field vs. L and time: multi-spacecraft analysis using the Van Allen probes, THEMIS and GOES

Theodore E. Sarris and Xinlin Li

Abstract. Ultra-low-frequency (ULF) pulsations are critical in radial diffusion processes of energetic particles, and the power spectral density (PSD) of these fluctuations is an integral part of the radial diffusion coefficients and of assimilative models of the radiation belts. Using simultaneous measurements from two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) geosynchronous satellites, three satellites of the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) spacecraft constellation and the two Van Allen probes during a 10-day period of intense geomagnetic activity and ULF pulsations of October 2012, we calculate the PSDs of ULF pulsations at different L shells. By following the time history of measurements at different L it is shown that, during this time, ULF wave power is not enhanced uniformly throughout the magnetosphere but instead is mostly enhanced in the outer L shells, close to the magnetopause, and to a lesser extent in the inner magnetosphere, closer to the plasmapause. Furthermore, by using phase differences between two GOES geosynchronous satellite pairs, we estimate the daily-averaged distribution of power at different azimuthal wave numbers. These results can have significant implications in better defining the effect of radial diffusion in the phase space density of energetic particles for different wave numbers or L shell distributions of ULF power.