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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 28, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 28, 1483–1498, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-1483-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 28, 1483–1498, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-1483-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  05 Aug 2010

05 Aug 2010

Spectral characteristics of protons in the Earth's plasmasheet: statistical results from Cluster CIS and RAPID

S. Haaland1,2, E. A. Kronberg1, P. W. Daly1, M. Fränz1, L. Degener2, E. Georgescu1, and I. Dandouras3 S. Haaland et al.
  • 1Max-Planck Institute for Solar Systems, Germany
  • 2Department of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 3Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, France

Abstract. We present a study of the spectral characteristics of protons in the Earth's plasma sheet for various geomagnetic disturbance levels. The study is based on about 5400 h of data combined from the Cluster RAPID and CIS instruments obtained during the tail season (July–October). The overall proton spectral shape is generally that of a κ distribution, that is, resembling a Maxwellian at lower energies which smoothly merges into a power-law tail at higher energies. The actual spectral long-term slope depends on various magnetospheric driver parameters, but is on average around 3.5–4. During disturbed conditions, such as geomagnetic storm or substorm periods, a shift in the characteristic energy is observed. For two individual storms, we also found a hardening of the spectra. Unlike the electron spectra, we do not see any significant local time dependence in the spectral slope, but we find higher average ion fluxes in the dusk side. We also do not find any direct response in the energy spectra to changes in the interplanetary magnetic field or solar wind dynamic pressure. This suggests that energization of the ions are mainly due to internal processes in the plasma sheet.

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