RBSPICE measurement of ion loss during the 2015 March storm: Adiabatic response to the geomagnetic field change

Angel Soto Chavez, L. J. Lanzerotti, Andrew Gerrard, Hyomin Kim, J. Bortnik, J. W. Manweiler

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A strongly energy-dependent ring current ion loss was measured by the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE) instrument on the Van Allen Probes A spacecraft in the local evening sector during the 17 March 2015 geomagnetic storm. The ion loss is found to be energy dependent where only ions with energies measured above ∼ 150 keV have a significant drop in intensity. At these energies the ion dynamics are principally controlled by variations of the geomagnetic field which, during magnetic storms, exhibits large-scale variations on time scales from minutes to hours. Here we show that starting from ∼19:10 UTC on 17 March the geomagnetic field increased from 220 to 260 nT on a time scale of about an hour as captured by RBSPICE-A close to spacecraft apogee, L = 6.1 and magnetic local time (MLT) = 21.85 h (GSM coordinates X =− 4.89, Y = 3.00, and Z =− 0.73). We demonstrate the relationship between this large geomagnetic field increase and the dropouts of the ≳ 150 keV ring current ions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9547-9559
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


  • inner magnetosphere
  • magnetic storms
  • ring current ion


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