In this paper, we present evolutions of the phase space density (PSD) spectra of ring current (RC) ions based on observations made by Van Allen Probe B during a geomagnetic storm on 23–24 August 2016. By analyzing PSD spectra ratios from the initial phase to the main phase of the storm, we find that during the main phase, RC ions with low magnetic moment μ values can penetrate deeper into the magnetosphere than can those with high μ values, and that the μ range of PSD enhancement meets the relationship: S(O+) >S(He+) >S(H+). Based on simultaneously observed ULF waves, theoretical calculation suggests that the radial transport of RC ions into the deep inner magnetosphere is caused by drift-bounce resonance interactions, and the efficiency of these resonance interactions satisfies the relationship: η(O+) > η(He+) > η(H+), leading to the differences in μ range of PSD enhancement for different RC ions. In the recovery phase, the observed decay rates for different RC ions meet the relationship: R(O+) > R(He+) > R(H+), in accordance with previous theoretical calculations, i.e., the charge exchange lifetime of O+ is shorter than those of H+ and He+.
During geomagnetically active times such as geomagnetic storms, large amounts of energy can be released into the Earth’s magnetosphere and change the ring current intensity. Previous studies showed that significant enhancement of the ring current was related to geomagnetic storms, while few studies have examined substorm effects on ring current dynamics. In this study, we examine the ring current variation during non-storm time (SYM-H > −50 nT) substorms, especially during super-substorms (AE > 1000 nT). We perform a statistical analysis of ring current plasma pressure and number flux of various ion species under different substorm conditions, based on Van Allen Probe observations. The plasma pressure and ion fluxes of the ring current increased dramatically during super-substorms, while little change was observed for substorms with AE < 1000 nT. The results shown in this study indicate that a non-storm time super-substorm may also have a significant contribution to the ring current.
Electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves are widely believed to play an important role in influencing the radiation belt and ring current dynamics. Most studies have investigated the effects or characteristics of EMIC waves by assuming their left-handed polarization. However, recent studies have found that the reversal of polarization, which occurs at higher latitudes along the wave propagation path, can change the wave-induced pitch angle diffusion coefficients. Whether such a polarization reversal can influence the global ring current dynamics remains unknown. In this study, we investigate the ring current dynamics and proton precipitation loss in association with polarization-reversed EMIC waves by using the ring current–atmosphere interactions model (RAM). The results indicate that the polarization reversal of H-band EMIC waves can truly decrease the scattering rates of protons of 10 to 50 keV or >100 keV in comparison with the scenario in which the EMIC waves are considered purely left-handed polarized. Additionally, the global ring current intensity and proton precipitation may be slightly affected by the polarization reversal, especially during prestorm time and the recovery phase, but the effects are not large during the main phase. This is probably because the H-band EMIC waves contribute to the proton scattering loss primarily at E < 10 keV, an energy range that is not strongly affected by the polarization reversal.