Browsing by Subject "FOCUSED TRANSPORT"

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  • Wijsen, N.; Aran, A.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Aims. We study how a fast solar wind stream embedded in a slow solar wind influences the spread of solar energetic protons in interplanetary space. In particular, we aim at understanding how the particle intensity and anisotropy vary along interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) lines that encounter changing solar wind conditions such as the shock waves bounding a corotating interaction region (CIR). Moreover, we study how the intensities and anisotropies vary as a function of the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinate, and how the width of the particle intensities evolves with the heliographic radial distance. Furthermore, we study how cross-field diffusion may alter these spatial profiles. Methods. To model the energetic protons, we used a recently developed particle transport code that computes particle distributions in the heliosphere by solving the focused transport equation (RTE) in a stochastic manner. The particles are propagated in a solar wind containing a CIR, which was generated by the heliospheric model, EUHFORIA. We study four cases in which we assume a delta injection of 4 MeV protons spread uniformly over different regions at the inner boundary of the model. These source regions have the same size and shape, yet are shifted in longitude from each other, and are therefore magnetically connected to different solar wind conditions. Results. The intensity and anisotropy profiles along selected IMF lines vary strongly according to the different solar wind conditions encountered along the field line. The IMF lines crossing the shocks bounding the CIR show the formation of accelerated particle populations, with the reverse shock wave being a more efficient accelerator than the forward shock wave. The longitudinal intensity profiles near the CIR are highly asymmetric in contrast to the profiles obtained in a nominal solar wind. For the injection regions that do not cross the transition zone between the fast and slow solar wind, we observe a steep intensity drop of several orders of magnitude near the stream interface (SI) inside the CIR. Moreover, we demonstrate that the longitudinal width of the particle intensity distribution can increase, decrease, or remain constant with heliographic radial distance, reflecting the underlying IMF structure. Finally, we show how the deflection of the IMF at the shock waves and the compression of the IMF in the CIR deforms the three-dimensional shape of the particle distribution in such a way that the original shape of the injection profile is lost.
  • Wijsen, N.; Aran, A.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Aims. We introduce a new solar energetic particle (SEP) transport code that aims at studying the effects of different background solar wind configurations on SEP events. In this work, we focus on the influence of varying solar wind velocities on the adiabatic energy changes of SEPs and study how a non-Parker background solar wind can trap particles temporarily at small heliocentric radial distances (less than or similar to 1.5AU) thereby influencing the cross-field diffusion of SEPs in the interplanetary space. Methods. Our particle transport code computes particle distributions in the heliosphere by solving the focused transport equation (FTE) in a stochastic manner. Particles are propagated in a solar wind generated by the newly developed data-driven heliospheric model, EUHFORIA. In this work, we solve the FTE, including all solar wind effects, cross-field diffusion, and magnetic-field gradient and curvature drifts. As initial conditions, we assume a delta injection of 4 MeV protons, spread uniformly over a selected region at the inner boundary of the model. To verify the model, we first propagate particles in nominal undisturbed fast and slow solar winds. Thereafter, we simulate and analyse the propagation of particles in a solar wind containing a corotating interaction region (CIR). We study the particle intensities and anisotropies measured by a fleet of virtual observers located at different positions in the heliosphere, as well as the global distribution of particles in interplanetary space. Results. The differential intensity-time profiles obtained in the simulations using the nominal Parker solar wind solutions illustrate the considerable adiabatic deceleration undergone by SEPs, especially when propagating in a fast solar wind. In the case of the solar wind containing a CIR, we observe that particles adiabatically accelerate when propagating in the compression waves bounding the CIR at small radial distances. In addition, for r greater than or similar to 1.5AU, there are particles accelerated by the reverse shock as indicated by, for example, the anisotropies and pitch-angle distributions of the particles. Moreover, a decrease in high-energy particles at the stream interface (SI) inside the CIR is observed. The compression /shock waves and the magnetic configuration near the SI may also act as a magnetic mirror, producing long-lasting high intensities at small radial distances. We also illustrate how the efficiency of the cross-field diffusion in spreading particles in the heliosphere is enhanced due to compressed magnetic fields. Finally, the inclusion of cross-field diffusion enables some particles to cross both the forward compression wave at small radial distances and the forward shock at larger radial distances. This results in the formation of an accelerated particle population centred on the forward shock, despite the lack of magnetic connection between the particle injection region and this shock wave. Particles injected in the fast solar wind stream cannot reach the forward shock since the SI acts as a diffusion barrier.
  • Wijsen, N.; Aran, A.; Sanahuja, B.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2020)
    Aims. We study the effect of the magnetic gradient and curvature drifts on the pitch-angle dependent transport of solar energetic particles (SEPs) in the heliosphere, focussing on similar to 3-36 MeV protons. By considering observers located at different positions in the heliosphere, we investigate how drifts may alter the measured intensity-time profiles and energy spectra. We focus on the decay phase of solar energetic proton events in which a temporal invariant spectrum and disappearing spatial intensity gradients are often observed; a phenomenon known as the "reservoir effect" or the "SEP flood". We study the effects of drifts by propagating particles both in nominal and non-nominal solar wind conditions.Methods. We used a three-dimensional (3D) particle transport model, solving the focused transport equation extended with the effect of particle drifts in the spatial term. Nominal Parker solar wind configurations of different speeds and a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generated solar wind containing a corotating interaction region (CIR) were considered. The latter configuration gives rise to a magnetic bottle structure, with one bottleneck at the Sun and the other at the CIR. We inject protons from a fixed source at 0.1 AU, the inner boundary of the MHD model.Results. When the drift induced particle net-flux is zero, the modelled intensity-time profiles obtained at different radial distances along an IMF line show the same intensity fall-off after the prompt phase of the particle event, which is in accordance with the SEP flood phenomenon. However, observers magnetically connected close to the edges of the particle injection site can experience, as a result of drifts, a sudden drop in the intensities occurring at different times for different energies such that no SEP flood phenomenon is established. In the magnetic bottle structure, this effect is enhanced due to the presence of magnetic field gradients strengthening the nominal particle drifts. Moreover, anisotropies can be large for observers that only receive particles through drifts, illustrating the importance of pitch-angle dependent 3D particle modelling. We observe that interplanetary cross-field diffusion can mitigate the effects of particle drifts.Conclusions. Particle drifts can substantially modify the decay phase of SEP events, especially if the solar wind contains compression regions or shock waves where the drifts are enhanced. This is, for example, the case for our CIR solar wind configuration generated with a 3D MHD model, where the effect of drifts is strong. A similar decay rate in different energy channels and for different observers requires the mitigation of the effect of drifts. One way to accomplish this is through interplanetary cross-field diffusion, suggesting thus a way to determine a minimum value for the cross-field diffusion strength.