Understanding Storm-Time Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron (EMIC) Wave Occurrences and Their Relationship to Ground Signatures

Project: Research project

Project Details


The dynamics of the charged particles in the radiation belts has become an increasingly important science problem is recent years as society has become dependent on satellites in space. This is a project to investigate electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves (EMIC) in the space and their signatures on the ground. This project is well timed to support the NASA Van Allen Probes mission. It will support the work of a young scientist just starting his career.

Radiation belt particles can be heated, scattered and lost in their interaction with EMIC waves. The investigators will study the propagation characteristics of the waves as a function of geomagnetic activity and radiation belt dynamics. Since ground observations of the waves are much easier and cheaper than satellite observations being able to study them from the ground would be very useful. They will use GOES and THEMIS magnetic field data from space along with conjugate data from the ground in Antarctica to address three questions: 1.) What is the relative occurrence of EMIC waves both in space and on the ground during each phase of a magnetic storm? 2.) Why are some of the waves not observed on the ground during certain phases (main and recovery) of the storm even though they are observed in space? 3.) How do heavy ions, He+ and O+, contribute to radiation belt precipitation losses and EMIC propagation to the ionosphere? This statistical study will be augmented by plasma data from LANL and THEMIS spacecraft. Finally they will join with unfunded collaborators at PPPL who will carry out wave simulation studies using a two-dimensional finite element code. This part of the study will investigate attenuation of the waves by heavy ions.

Effective start/end date8/15/148/31/15


  • National Science Foundation: $72,123.00


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