Pitch angle distribution of suprathermal electrons behind dipolarization fronts: A statistical overview
2012 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 117, A12221- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We examine the pitch angle distribution (PAD) of suprathermal electrons (> 40 keV) inside the flux pileup regions (FPRs) that are located behind the dipolarization fronts (DFs), in order to better understand the particle energization mechanisms operating therein. The 303 earthward-propagating DFs observed during 9 years (2001-2009) by Cluster 1 have been analyzed and divided into two groups according to the differential fluxes of the > 40 keV electrons inside the FPR. One group, characterized by the low flux (F < 500/cm(2) , s . sr . keV), consists of 153 events and corresponds to a broad distribution of IMF Bz components. The other group, characterized by the high flux (F >= 500/cm(2) . s . sr . keV), consists of 150 events and corresponds to southward IMF Bz components. Only the high-flux group is considered to investigate the PAD of the > 40 keV electrons as the low-flux situation may lead to large uncertainties in computing the anisotropy factor that is defined as A = F-perpendicular to/F-parallel to - 1 for F-perpendicular to > F-parallel to, and A = -F-parallel to/F-perpendicular to + 1 for F-perpendicular to < F-parallel to. We find that, among the 150 events, 46 events have isotropic distribution (vertical bar A vertical bar <= 0.5); 60 events have perpendicular distribution (A > 0.5), and 44 events have field-aligned distribution inside the FPR (A < -0.5). The perpendicular distribution appears mainly inside the growing FPR, where the flow velocity is increasing and the local flux tube is compressed. The field-aligned distribution occurs mainly inside the decaying FPR, where the flow velocity is decreasing and the local flux tube is expanding. Inside the steady FPR, we observed primarily the isotropic distribution of suprathermal electrons. This statistical result confirms the previous case study and gives an overview of the PAD of suprathermal electrons behind DFs.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 117, A12221- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-191766DOI: 10.1029/2012JA018141ISI: 000312397600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-191766DiVA: diva2:588332