Our project in a few words

We propose to conduct an observationally-oriented study to investigate new discoveries concerning the dynamic processes that govern relativistic electrons and energetic ions in the near-Earth space environment. A fundamental question that remains unanswered is how charged particles are distributed along the magnetic field lines from one hemisphere to the other. In particular, the distribution near the atmospheric “loss cone” is quite different from the distribution of particles that magnetically mirror further up the field. Understanding the relationship between those two parts of the distribution will provide new tools for both physical understanding and predictive modeling. This broad knowledge has great value for practical space weather applications, with important implications for the manmade technologies that operate in this region.

Specifically, we propose to use the ISSI Bern forum as an international research center, where our team will seek to reach a global description of the particle distribution along the entire geomagnetic field line by using and combining datasets from three main missions observing the radiation belts: ESA’s Proba V mission (EU), NASA’s Van Allen Probes mission (USA), and JAXA’s Arase (ERG) mission (Japan). Each mission brings a different latitudinal view of the belts, yet together will deliver a full description along the field line, and result in a new understanding of the dynamics. Through observations combined with numerical modeling, we will test various physical mechanisms that have been proposed to explain how plasmas and energetic particles are injected into and transported through the belts. Connecting the particle distribution with the magnetospheric electromagnetic waves that drive the dynamics will be at the deep center of the studies. We will also focus on the processes that affect precipitations of energetic particles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Our international team is composed of 12 outstanding researchers hailing from top institutes in Europe, North America, and Asia, with each bringing access and expertise of at least one of the satellite datasets of the 3 missions. They share an expertise on observations and/or theory/modeling/computation of particles and waves in Earth’s inner magnetosphere. Working daily, collaboratively at ISSI, with each other’s data will lead our team to an improved representation of the near-Earth radiation environment, delivering unprecedented and impactful research studies, based on a synthesis of vast satellite data coverage and state-of-the-art numerical simulations.

Team members

The core team includes the following scientists and institutions of 7 nations: Dr. J.-F. Ripoll (lead, CEA, France), Dr. G. D. Reeves, (co-lead, LANL, USA), Dr. D. L. Turner, (co-lead, Aerospace Corp., USA), Dr. C. Colpitts (Univ. Minnesota), Prof. C. Cully (Calgary Univ., Canada), Prof. Allison Jaynes (Iowa Univ., USA), Prof. Y. Kasahara, (Kanazawa Univ., Japan), Dr. S. Kurita (Nagoya Univ., Japan), Prof. R. Millan (Dartmouth, USA), Prof. V. Pierrard (IASB, Belgium), Prof. Y. Miyoshi (Nagoya Univ., Japan). Dr. Hilde Nesse Tyssoy (Bergen Univ., Norway), Dr M. Usanova, Dr A. Michael.

External advisors 

Prof. L. Blum (NASA, USA), Dr. G. Cunningham (LANL, USA), Dr. R. Horne (BAS, UK), Dr. A. Ukhorskiy (APL, USA).

Young Scientists (within +/-2 years of their PhD)

Dr. A. D. Greeley (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), Dr. S. Elliot (Minnesota Univ.), M. Cosmides (CEA)


  • First Meeting: 27–31 January 2020, Bern, Switzerland
  • Second Meeting: 11-14 April, 2022, Bern, Switzerland
  • Third Meeting: January, 2023, Bern, Switzerland

Research studies

Research studies from the publication listed just below are presented in a dedicated page: click here

Publication list

  • Blum, L. W., Remya, B., Denton, M. H., & Schiller, Q. (2020). Persistent EMIC wave activity across the nightside inner magnetosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL087009. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087009
  • Ripoll, J.‐F., Farges, T., Malaspina, D. M., Lay, E. H., Cunningham, G. S., Hospodarsky, G. B., et al. (2020). Analysis of electric and magnetic lightning‐generated wave amplitudes measured by the Van Allen Probes. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL087503. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087503
  • Cunningham, G.S.,  E. Botek  V. Pierrard  C. Cully  J.‐F. Ripoll, Observation of High‐Energy Electrons Precipitated by NWC Transmitter from PROBA‐V Low‐Earth Orbit Satellite, Geophysical Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL089077
  • Colpitts, C., Miyoshi, Y., Kasahara, Y., Delzanno, G. L., Wygant, J. R., Cattell, C. A., et al. (2020). First direct observations of propagation of discrete chorus elements from the equatorial source to higher latitudes, using the Van Allen Probes and Arase satellites. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, e2020JA028315. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JA028315
  • Ripoll,J.-F., M. H. Denton, D. P. Hartley, G. D. Reeves, D. Malaspina, G. S. Cunningham, O. Santolík, S. A. Thaller, V. Loridan, J. F. Fennell, D. L. Turner, W. S. Kurth, C. A. Kletzing, M. G. Henderson, A. Y. Ukhorskiy (2020), Scattering by whistler-mode waves during a quiet period perturbed by substorm activity, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105471.
  • Pierrard, V., Botek, E., Ripoll, J. F., & Cunningham, G. (2020). Electron dropout events and flux enhancements associated with geomagnetic storms observed by PROBA‐V/EPT from 2013 to 2019. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, e2020JA028487. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JA028487
  • Greeley A.D., S. G. Kanekal, D. G. Sibeck, Q. Schiller, D. N. Baker (2020). Evolution of pitch angle distributions of relativistic electrons during geomagnetic storms: Van Allen Probes Observations, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, tps://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020JA028335
  • Malaspina, D. M., Jaynes, A. N., Elkington, S., Chan, A., Hospodarsky, G., & Wygant, J. (2021). Testing the organization of lower-band whistler- mode chorus wave properties by plasmapause location. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 126, e2020JA028458. https://doi. org/10.1029/2020JA028458
  • Blum, L. W.,  Koval, A.,  Richardson, I. G.,  Wilson, L. B.,  Malaspina, D.,  Greeley, A., &  Jaynes, A. N. (2021). Prompt response of the dayside magnetosphere to discrete structures within the sheath region of a coronal mass ejection. Geophysical Research Letters,  48, e2021GL092700. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL092700
  • Pierrard V, Botek E, Ripoll J-F, Thaller SA, Moldwin MB, Ruohoniemi M and Reeves G (2021) Links of the Plasmapause With Other Boundary Layers of the Magnetosphere: Ionospheric Convection, Radiation Belt Boundaries, Auroral Oval. Front. Astron. Space Sci. 8:728531. doi: 10.3389/fspas.2021.728531.
  • Ripoll J-F, Farges T, Malaspina DM, Cunningham GS, Hospodarsky GB, Kletzing CA and Wygant J R (2021), Propagation and Dispersion of Lightning-Generated Whistlers Measured From the Van Allen Probes. Front. Phys. 9:722355. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphy.2021.722355/full
  • Turner, D. L., Cohen, I. J., Michael, A., Sorathia, K., Merkin, S., Mauk, B. H., et al. (2021). Can Earth’s magnetotail plasma sheet produce a source of relativistic electrons for the radiation belts? Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL095495. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL095495
  • Ripoll, JF., Farges, T., Malaspina, D.M., Cunningham, G. S., Lay, E. H. et al. Electromagnetic power of lightning superbolts from Earth to space. Nat Commun 12, 3553 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23740-6
  • Pierrard, V., Ripoll, J.-F., Cunningham, G., Botek, E., Santolik, O., Thaller, S., et al. (2021). Observations and simulations of dropout events and flux decays in October 2013: Comparing MEO equatorial with LEO polar orbit. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 126, e2020JA028850. https:// doi.org/10.1029/2020JA028850
  • Millan, R, J.-F. Ripoll, O. Santolik, W. Kurth, (2021), Early-time Non-equilibrium Pitch Angle Diffusion of Electrons by Whistler-mode Hiss in a Plasmaspheric Plume Associated with BARREL Precipitation, Front. Astron. Space Sci., accepted.
  • Matsuda, S., Y. Miyoshi, Y. Kasahara, L. Blum, C. Colpitts, K. Asamura, Y. Kasaba, A. Matsuoka, F. Tsuchiya, A. Kumamoto, M. Teramoto, S. Nakamura, M. Kitahara, and I. Shinohara, Multipoint Measurement of Fine-Structured EMIC Waves by Arase, Van
    Allen Probe A and Ground Stations, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2021GL096488, 2021.
  • Usanova, M. E., Reid, R. A., Xu, W., Marshall, R. A., Starks, M. J., & Wilson, G. R. (2022). Using VLF transmitter signals at LEO for plasmasphere model validation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 127, e2022JA030345. 
  • M.D. Hartinger, K. Takahashi, A. Drozdov, X. Shi, M. E. Usanova, and B. Kress (2022), ULF wave modeling, effects, and applications: accomplishments, recent advances, and future Front. Astron. Space Sci., https://doi.org/10.3389/fspas.2022.867394
  • Usanova, M.E., & Ergun, R.E. (2022). Electron Energization by High-Amplitude Turbulent Electric Fields: A Possible Source of the Outer Radiation Belt. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 127, e2022JA030336. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JA030336
  • Ergun, R. E., Usanova, M. E., Turner, D. L., & Stawarz, J. E. (2022). Bursty bulk flow turbulence as a source of energetic particles to the outer radiation belt. Geophysical Research Letters, 49, e2022GL098113. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL098113
  • Drozdov, A. Y., Allison, H. J., Shprits, Y. Y., Usanova, M. E., Saikin, A., & Wang, D. (2022). Depletions of multi-MeV electrons and their association to minima in phase space density. Geophysical Research Letters, 49, e2021GL097620. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL097620

Communications in major conferences are listed in a dedicated page: click here