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Multi-Event Study on the Connection Between Subauroral Polarization Streams and Deep Energetic Particle Injections in the Inner Magnetosphere


Califf, S
Zhao, H
Gkioulidou, M
Manweiler, J
Mitchell, D
Tian, S


Energetic electron flux enhancements for 100s keV energies are often observed at low L shells (L < 4) in the inner magnetosphere during geomagnetic storms. However, protons with similar energies do not penetrate as deeply as electrons. Electric fields from subauroral polarization streams (SAPS) have been proposed as a mechanism to explain the difference between the 100s keV electron and proton behavior by altering the particles' drift paths and allowing electrons to access lower L shells than protons. Although the primary signature of SAPS is a strong radial electric field, there are corresponding westward/eastward azimuthal electric fields on the eastern/western regions of the SAPS that cause inward/outward radial transport and a differential response between the oppositely drifting electrons and protons. We examine three events where SAPS were observed by the Van Allen Probes near the same time and L shell range as 100s keV electron enhancements deep within the inner magnetosphere. The observations demonstrate that 100s keV electrons were progressively transported radially inward and trapped at low L shells that were consistent with the spatial extent of the SAPS electric fields. Proton flux enhancements were limited to <100 keV energies and were only observed temporarily in the SAPS region, indicating that these particles were on open drift paths. The particle observations are consistent with the differential drift paths for electrons and protons predicted by a simple SAPS electric field model, suggesting that SAPS play an important role in 100s keV particle dynamics at low L shells in the inner magnetosphere.