Influence of the terrestrial magnetic field geometry on the cutoff rigidity of cosmic ray particles

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Abstract

<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Studies of the propagation of charged energetic particles in the Earth's magnetic field go back to Carl Størmer. In the end, his investigations finally lead to the definition of the so-called cutoff rigidity <i>R</i><sub>C</sub>; that is, the minimum momentum per charge a particle must have in order to reach a certain geographical location. Employing Monte Carlo simulations with the PLANETOCOSMICS code we investigate the correlation between the geomagnetic field structure and the cutoff rigidity. We show that the geometry of the magnetic field has a considerable influence on the resulting cutoff rigidity distribution. Furthermore, we will present a simple geometry-based parameter, &amp;delta;<i>B</i>, which is able to reflect the location-dependent cutoff rigidity. We show that this correlation is also visible in the temporal evolution of the Earth's magnetic field, at least over the last 100 yr. Using latitude scans with neutron monitors, changes of the relative counting rates at different positions are calculated, showing small variations for, e.g., Kiel and Moscow, while large ones occur at Mexico City as well as on the British Virgin Islands.</p>

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Herbst, K., Kopp, A., & Heber, B. (2013). Influence of the terrestrial magnetic field geometry on the cutoff rigidity of cosmic ray particles. Annales Geophysicae, 31(10), 1637–1643. https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-31-1637-2013

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