A statistical study of magnetospheric electron density using the Cluster spacecraft

Sandhu, J.K., Yeoman, T.K., Fear, R.C. and Dandouras, I. (2016) A statistical study of magnetospheric electron density using the Cluster spacecraft Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 121, (11), 11,042-11,062. (doi:10.1002/2016JA023397).


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Observations from the WHISPER (Waves of High frequency and Sounder for Probing of Electron density by Relaxation) instrument on board Cluster, for the interval spanning 2001–2012, are utilized to determine an empirical model describing the total electron density along closed geomagnetic field lines. The model, representing field lines in the region of 4.5?L < 9.5, includes dependences on L and magnetic local time. Data verification tests ensured that the WHISPER data set provided unbiased measurements for low-density regions, including comparisons with Plasma Electron and Current Experiment and Electric Field and Waves observations. The model was determined by modeling variations in the electron density along the field lines, which is observed to follow a power law distribution along the geomagnetic field at high latitudes, with power law index values ranging from approximately 0.0 to 1.2. However, a localized peak in electron density close to the magnetic equator is observed, which is described using a Gaussian peak function, with the electron density peak ranging as high as 10 cm?3 above the background power law dependence. The resulting model illustrates some key features of the electron density spatial distribution. The role of the number density distribution, represented by the empirical electron density model, in determining the total plasma mass density is also explored. By combining the empirical electron density model with an empirical average ion mass model, the total plasma mass density distribution is inferred, which includes contributions of both the number density and ion composition of the plasma in the region.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/2016JA023397
ISSNs: 2169-9380 (print)
Organisations: Astronomy Group
ePrint ID: 404299
Date :
Date Event
6 November 2016Accepted/In Press
15 November 2016e-pub ahead of print
November 2016Published
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 14:10
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 00:39
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404299

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