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Physical and numerical modeling of the dynamics of high-energy electrons trapped in the outer radiation belt of the Earth’s magnetosphere

Abstract : Satellites are vulnerable to high-energy particles trapped in the Van Allen belts. To ensure their protection, it is necessary to predict properly the electron dynamics in the magnetosphere. We first propose an original method to find the analytical solution of the reduced Fokker-Planck equation that models the transport and loss of electrons in the inner magnetosphere. The resolution relies on an eigenfunction expansion approach. If the analytical solution is proven to be useful at uncovering some of the physical properties of the radiation belts, it is also relevant to validate the numerical code that solves the reduced Fokker-Planck equation, which has been developed during the PhD. The latter code is used to generalize the previous study in illustrating the evolution of the electron fluxes for various energies and locations. We demonstrate that the structure of the radiation belts as well as their dynamical timescales only depend on a few well-chosen parameters. In the perspective of reproducing a specific storm-recovery event reported by the NASA Van Allen Probes, we are able to simulate the electron scattering in the Earth’s atmosphere due to the interaction with magnetospheric electromagnetic waves. The consideration of data-driven and event-specific conditions enables us to corroborate the observed fluxes. Finally, various influences of the Earth’s magnetic field on the dynamics of the radiation belts are investigated. We focus on the outer belt to see how the magnetic field asymmetries, which are strongly shaped by solar activity, affect the way of conciliating theory and observations. We also explore the importance of new hidden diffusive processes that emerge due to the natural irregularity of the magnetic field in the closest vicinity of the Earth.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:53:10 AM
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Vivien Loridan. Physical and numerical modeling of the dynamics of high-energy electrons trapped in the outer radiation belt of the Earth’s magnetosphere. General Mathematics [math.GM]. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE), 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLN043⟩. ⟨tel-01950949⟩

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