Excitation of O+ Band EMIC Waves Through H+ Ring Velocity Distributions: Van Allen Probe Observations

Xiongdong Yu, Zhigang Yuan, Shiyong Huang, Fei Yao, Dedong Wang, Herbert O. Funsten, John R. Wygant

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19 Scopus citations


A typical case of electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) emissions with both He+ band and O+ band waves was observed by Van Allen Probe A on 14 July 2014. These emissions occurred in the morning sector on the equator inside the plasmasphere, in which region O+ band EMIC waves prefer to appear. Through property analysis of these emissions, it is found that the He+ band EMIC waves are linearly polarized and propagating quasi-parallelly along the background magnetic field, while the O+ band ones are of linear and left-hand polarization and propagating obliquely with respect to the background magnetic field. Using the in situ observations of plasma environment and particle data, excitation of these O+ band EMIC waves has been investigated with the linear growth theory. The calculated linear growth rate shows that these O+ band EMIC waves can be locally excited by ring current protons with ring velocity distributions. The comparison of the observed wave spectral intensity and the calculated growth rate suggests that the density of H+ rings providing the free energy for the instability has decreased after the wave grows. Therefore, this paper provides a direct observational evidence to the excitation mechanism of O+ band EMIC waves: ring current protons with ring distributions provide the free energy supporting the instability in the presence of rich O+ in the plasmasphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1276
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 16 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Van Allen Probes data are available at the Web http://www.rbsp-ect.lanl. gov/data_pub/, http://www.space.umn. edu/rbspefw-data/ and http://emfisis. physics.uiowa.edu/data/index. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41374168, 41521063, and 41174140) and Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-13-0446). Both the data and input files necessary to reproduce the experiments are avail able from the authors upon request (y_zgang@vip.163.com).

Publisher Copyright:
©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • O band EMIC waves
  • linear wave growth
  • ring distributions


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