Specification of the Earth’s plasmasphere with data assimilation
In this paper we report on initial work toward data assimilative modeling of the Earth’s plasmasphere. As the medium of propagation for waves which are responsible for acceleration and decay of the radiation belts, an accurate assimilative model of the plasmasphere is crucial for optimizing the accurate prediction of the radiation environments encountered by satellites. On longer time-scales the plasmasphere exhibits significant dynamics. Although these dynamics are modeled well by existing models, they require detailed global knowledge of magnetospheric configuration which is not always readily available. For that reason data assimilation can be expected to be an effective tool in improving the modeling accuracy of the plasmasphere. In this paper we demonstrate that a relatively modest number of measurements, combined with a simple data assimilation scheme, inspired by the ensemble Kalman filtering data assimilation technique does a good job of reproducing the overall structure of the plasmasphere including plume development. This raises hopes that data assimilation will be an effective method for accurately representing the configuration of the plasmasphere for space weather applications.