A plasmaspheric mass density model and constraints on its heavy ion concentration

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Abstract

[1] The first empirical model of the equatorial mass density of the plasmasphere is constructed using ground-based ULF wave diagnostics. Plasmaspheric mass density between L = 1.7 and L = 3.2 has been determined using over 5200 hours of data from pairs of stations in the MEASURE array of ground magnetometers. The least squares fit to the data as a function of L shows that mass density falls logarithmically with L. Average ion mass as a function of L is also estimated by combining the mass density model with plasmaspheric electron density profiles determined from the IMAGE Radio Plasma Imager (RPI). Additionally, we use the RPI electron density database to examine how the average ion mass changes under different levels of geomagnetic activity. We find that average ion mass is greatest under the most disturbed conditions. This result indicates that heavy ion concentrations (percent by number) are enhanced during large geomagnetic disturbances. We also find that the average ion mass increases with increasing L (below L = 3.2), indicating the presence of a heavy ion torus during disturbed times. Heavy ions must play an important role in storm-time plasmaspheric dynamics. The average ion mass is also used to constrain the concentrations of He+ and O+. Estimates of the He+ concentration determined this way may be useful for interpreting IMAGE Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUV) images.

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