Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study examines the interaction of plasma, ions and electrons created by Solar illumination in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, that travels along magnetic field lines filling the Plasmasphere, and the naturally occurring trapped particles known as the outer radiation belt. Although these two science disciplines have been largely worked independent of each other due the vast differences in the energy of the particles, recent satellite observations indicate a large population of particles with lower energy and greater mass also exist in the outer radiation belt. This study shows that during conditions of low solar output in an 11-year cycle, these newly identified particles may have an effect on the background plasma flowing up from the upper atmosphere along the magnetic field lines. Additionally, the study indicates that relatively frequent small solar storms that rapidly increase the radiation belt density may repel the upward flow of plasma, increasing the time for the background to return to the pre-storm conditions by 30%.
Thonnard, Stefan, "Effects of the Radiation Belt on the Plasmasphere Distribution" (2020). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8007.
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