Effects of Temporal Variability on Wave-Particle Interactions in Magnetospheric Plasma

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University


Our proposal addresses key science behind space weather. The energetic electrons in the radiation belts that surround the Earth are controlled in part by interactions with a wide range of electromagnetic waves. We have a useful theoretical description of the strength of these wave-particle interactions, but it was only designed for waves that do not vary much in time. Real-world observations indicate that the waves and plasma conditions are highly variable and so we look to run physics-based numerical experiments to identify how we should use our knowledge of wave-particle interactions to better model the behaviour of the radiation belt. The conditions for the numerical experiments will be constrained by observations from NASA's state-of-the-art Van Allen Probes. The combination of numerical simulation and observations promises to shed further light on the physical processes that control the amount of high-energy electrons trapped in Earth's outer radiation belt.