Statistical Analysis of Pi2 Pulsations Observed by Van Allen Probes

Kazue Takahashi, Robert Lysak, Massimo Vellante

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3 Scopus citations


The relative importance of propagating and cavity mode waves remains an important question regarding the generation of Pi2 pulsations detected on the ground. To determine the wave mode, we statistically generate spatial maps of magnetospheric oscillations that are coherent with ground Pi2 pulsations. The magnetospheric observations were made by the two Van Allen Probes spacecraft over a 7-year period. The amount and quality of the spacecraft data allow us to investigate the mode structure of Pi2 pulsation in ways that were not possible in previous studies. We use the H component of low-latitude ground Pi2 pulsations detected in the 22–02 magnetic local time (MLT) sector as the reference signal to generate L-MLT and meridional maps of the coherence, amplitude, and phase of the magnetospheric electric and magnetic field components defined in magnetic field aligned coordinates. We identify low-frequency and high-frequency components in Pi2 power spectra, and we are able to determine the mode structure of the high-frequency events for the first time. The maps demonstrate that the poloidal components have higher coherence than the toroidal components. For each frequency component, the maps of the poloidal components agree with those of cavity mode oscillations obtained in a numerical simulation using realistic models for the magnetospheric mass density and magnetic field. This result is conclusive evidence of the cavity mode nature of Pi2 pulsations detected in the inner magnetosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JA030674
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
K. Takahashi and R. Lysak were supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant No 1840970. R. Lysak also was supported by the NSF Grant No. 1840891. The authors acknowledge the NASA contract NAS5‐02099 and V. Angelopoulos for use of data from the THEMIS mission, specifically original data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Geomagnetism Program ( ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and The Authors.


  • Pi2 waves
  • Van Allen Probes
  • harmonics
  • mode structure
  • numerical simulation


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