Effects of interplanetary transport on derived energetic particle source strengths

E. E. Chollet, J. Giacalone, R. A. Mewaldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We study the transport of solar energetic particles (SEPs) in the inner heliosphere in order to relate observations made by an observer at 1 AU to the number and total energy content of accelerated particles at the source, assumed to be near the Sun. We use a numerical simulation that integrates the trajectories of a large number of individual particles moving in the interplanetary magnetic field. We model pitch angle scattering and adiabatic cooling of energetic ions with energies from 50 keV nucleon-1 to 100 MeV nucleon-1. Among other things, we determine the number of times that particles of a given energy cross 1 AU and the average energy loss that they suffer because of adiabatic deceleration in the solar wind. We use a number of different forms of the interplanetary spatial diffusion coefficient and a wide range of scattering mean-free paths and consider a number of different ion species in order to generate a wide range of simulation results that can be applied to individual SEP events. We apply our simulation results to observations made at 1 AU of the 20 February 2002 solar energetic particle event, finding the original energy content of several species. We find that estimates of the source energy based on SEP measurements at 1 AU are relatively insensitive to the mean-free path and scattering scheme if adiabatic cooling and multiple crossings are taken into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA06101
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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