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Umran S. Inan

Bio: Umran S. Inan is an academic researcher from Stanford University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Whistler & Electron precipitation. The author has an hindex of 69, co-authored 445 publications receiving 18403 citations. Previous affiliations of Umran S. Inan include École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne & Osaka University.


Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
08 Sep 2005-Nature
TL;DR: It is shown, on the basis of the analysis of a rare event where the outer radiation belt was depleted and then re-formed closer to the Earth, that the long established theory of acceleration by radial diffusion is inadequate; the electrons are accelerated more effectively by electromagnetic waves at frequencies of a few kilohertz.
Abstract: The Van Allen radiation belts are two regions encircling the Earth in which energetic charged particles are trapped inside the Earth's magnetic field. Their properties vary according to solar activity and they represent a hazard to satellites and humans in space. An important challenge has been to explain how the charged particles within these belts are accelerated to very high energies of several million electron volts. Here we show, on the basis of the analysis of a rare event where the outer radiation belt was depleted and then re-formed closer to the Earth, that the long established theory of acceleration by radial diffusion is inadequate; the electrons are accelerated more effectively by electromagnetic waves at frequencies of a few kilohertz. Wave acceleration can increase the electron flux by more than three orders of magnitude over the observed timescale of one to two days, more than sufficient to explain the new radiation belt. Wave acceleration could also be important for Jupiter, Saturn and other astrophysical objects with magnetic fields.

552 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors show that the optical emission levels are predominantly defined by the lightning discharge duration and the conductivity properties of the atmosphere/lower ionosphere (i.e., relaxation time of electric field in the conducting medium).
Abstract: Quasi-electrostatic (QE) fields that temporarily exist at high altitudes following the sudden removal (e.g., by a lightning discharge) of thundercloud charge at low altitudes lead to ambient electron heating (up to ∼5 eV average energy), ionization of neutrals, and excitation of optical emissions in the mesosphere/lower ionosphere. Model calculations predict the possibility of significant (several orders of magnitude) modification of the lower ionospheric conductivity in the form of depletions of electron density due to dissociative attachment to O2 molecules and/or in the form of enhancements of electron density due to breakdown ionization. Results indicate that the optical emission intensities of the 1st positive band of N2 corresponding to fast (∼ 1 ms) removal of 100–300 C of thundercloud charge from 10 km altitude are in good agreement with observations of the upper part (“head” and “hair” [Sentman et al., 1995]) of the sprites. The typical region of brightest optical emission has horizontal and vertical dimensions ∼10 km, centered at altitudes 70 km and is interpreted as the head of the sprite. The model also shows the formation of low intensity glow (“hair”) above this region due to the excitation of optical emissions at altitudes ∼ 85 km during ∼ 500 μs at the initial stage of the lightning discharge. Comparison of the optical emission intensities of the 1st and 2nd positive bands of N2, Meinel and 1st negative bands of , and 1st negative band of demonstrates that the 1st positive band of N2 is the dominating optical emission in the altitude range around ∼70 km, which accounts for the observed red color of sprites, in excellent agreement with recent spectroscopic observations of sprites. Results indicate that the optical emission levels are predominantly defined by the lightning discharge duration and the conductivity properties of the atmosphere/lower ionosphere (i.e., relaxation time of electric field in the conducting medium). The model demonstrates that for low ambient conductivities the lightning discharge duration can be significantly extended with no loss in production of optical emissions. The peak intensity of optical emissions is determined primarily by the value of the removed thundercloud charge and its altitude. The preexisting inhomogeneities in the mesospheric conductivity and the neutral density may contribute to the formation of a vertically striated fine structure of sprites and explain why sprites often repeatedly occur in the same place in the sky as well as their clustering. Comparison of the model results for different types of lightning discharges indicates that positive cloud to ground discharges lead to the largest electric fields and optical emissions at ionospheric altitudes since they are associated with the removal of larger amounts of charge from higher altitudes.

434 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a multichannel high-speed photometer and image intensified CCD cameras were carried out at Yucca Ridge Field Station (40040'N, 104o.56'W) in Colorado as part of the SPRITES'95 campaign from 15 June to August 6, 1995.
Abstract: Observations of optical phenomena at. high alti- tude a, bove thunderstorms using a multichannel high-speed photometer and image intensified CCD cameras were carried out at Yucca Ridge Field Station (40040 ' N, 104o.56 ' W), Colorado as part of the SPRITES'95 campaign from 15 June to August 6, 1995. These newneasurements indicate that diffuse optical flashes with a duration of < I ms and a hori- zontal scale of-.- 100-300 km occur at 75-105 km altitude in the lower ionosphere just after the onset of cloud-to-ground lightning discharges, but preceding the onset of sprites. Here we designate these events as 'alves" to distinguish them from 'i'ed sprites" . This finding is consistent with the production of diffuse optical emissions due to the heating of the lower ionosphere by electromagnetic pulses generated by lightning discharges as suggested by several authors.

287 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
14 Mar 2002-Nature
TL;DR: A video recording of a blue jet propagating upwards from a thundercloud to an altitude of about 70 km is reported, taken at the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, to speculate that it may be common and therefore represent an unaccounted for component of the global electric circuit.
Abstract: For over a century, numerous undocumented reports have appeared about unusual large-scale luminous phenomena above thunderclouds1,2,3,4,5,6 and, more than 80 years ago, it was suggested that an electrical discharge could bridge the gap between a thundercloud and the upper atmosphere7,8. Since then, two classes of vertically extensive optical flashes above thunderclouds have been identified—sprites9,10,11 and blue jets12,13,14. Sprites initiate near the base of the ionosphere, develop very rapidly downwards at speeds which can exceed 107 m s-1 (ref. 15), and assume many different geometrical forms16,17,18,19. In contrast, blue jets develop upwards from cloud tops at speeds of the order of 105 m s-1 and are characterized by a blue conical shape12,13,14. But no experimental data related to sprites or blue jets have been reported which conclusively indicate that they establish a direct path of electrical contact between a thundercloud and the lower ionosphere. Here we report a video recording of a blue jet propagating upwards from a thundercloud to an altitude of about 70 km, taken at the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico. Above an altitude of 42 km—normally the upper limit for blue jets and the lower terminal altitude for sprites—the flash exhibited some features normally observed in sprites. As we observed this phenomenon above a relatively small thunderstorm cell, we speculate that it may be common and therefore represent an unaccounted for component of the global electric circuit.

267 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a nonlinear cyclotron resonance wave-particle interaction in the magnetosphere with attention to the pitch angle scattering of energetic electrons by coherent VLF whistler mode signals is made.
Abstract: A study is made of nonlinear cyclotron resonance wave-particle interaction in the magnetosphere with attention to the pitch angle scattering of energetic electrons by coherent VLF whistler mode signals. A computer simulation of the full nonlinear equations of motions for energetic particles interacting with a longitudinal whistler mode wave in an inhomogeneous magnetosphere are used. The results are compared to those of a linear theory. Test electrons distributed in energy and pitch angle are used to simulate the full distribution of particles. The scattering of the test particles and their integration over energy and pitch angle yield the precipitated flux. The results suggest that coherent VLF waves significantly influence the dynamics and lifetimes of energetic electrons trapped in the magnetosphere and magnetic shells illuminated by the waves.

248 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: MORVEL as discussed by the authors is a new closure-enforced set of angular velocities for the geologically current motions of 25 tectonic plates that collectively occupy 97 per cent of Earth's surface.
Abstract: SUMMARY We describe best-fitting angular velocities and MORVEL, a new closure-enforced set of angular velocities for the geologically current motions of 25 tectonic plates that collectively occupy 97 per cent of Earth's surface. Seafloor spreading rates and fault azimuths are used to determine the motions of 19 plates bordered by mid-ocean ridges, including all the major plates. Six smaller plates with little or no connection to the mid-ocean ridges are linked to MORVEL with GPS station velocities and azimuthal data. By design, almost no kinematic information is exchanged between the geologically determined and geodetically constrained subsets of the global circuit—MORVEL thus averages motion over geological intervals for all the major plates. Plate geometry changes relative to NUVEL-1A include the incorporation of Nubia, Lwandle and Somalia plates for the former Africa plate, Capricorn, Australia and Macquarie plates for the former Australia plate, and Sur and South America plates for the former South America plate. MORVEL also includes Amur, Philippine Sea, Sundaland and Yangtze plates, making it more useful than NUVEL-1A for studies of deformation in Asia and the western Pacific. Seafloor spreading rates are estimated over the past 0.78 Myr for intermediate and fast spreading centres and since 3.16 Ma for slow and ultraslow spreading centres. Rates are adjusted downward by 0.6–2.6 mm yr−1 to compensate for the several kilometre width of magnetic reversal zones. Nearly all the NUVEL-1A angular velocities differ significantly from the MORVEL angular velocities. The many new data, revised plate geometries, and correction for outward displacement thus significantly modify our knowledge of geologically current plate motions. MORVEL indicates significantly slower 0.78-Myr-average motion across the Nazca–Antarctic and Nazca–Pacific boundaries than does NUVEL-1A, consistent with a progressive slowdown in the eastward component of Nazca plate motion since 3.16 Ma. It also indicates that motions across the Caribbean–North America and Caribbean–South America plate boundaries are twice as fast as given by NUVEL-1A. Summed, least-squares differences between angular velocities estimated from GPS and those for MORVEL, NUVEL-1 and NUVEL-1A are, respectively, 260 per cent larger for NUVEL-1 and 50 per cent larger for NUVEL-1A than for MORVEL, suggesting that MORVEL more accurately describes historically current plate motions. Significant differences between geological and GPS estimates of Nazca plate motion and Arabia–Eurasia and India–Eurasia motion are reduced but not eliminated when using MORVEL instead of NUVEL-1A, possibly indicating that changes have occurred in those plate motions since 3.16 Ma. The MORVEL and GPS estimates of Pacific–North America plate motion in western North America differ by only 2.6 ± 1.7 mm yr−1, ≈25 per cent smaller than for NUVEL-1A. The remaining difference for this plate pair, assuming there are no unrecognized systematic errors and no measurable change in Pacific–North America motion over the past 1–3 Myr, indicates deformation of one or more plates in the global circuit. Tests for closure of six three-plate circuits indicate that two, Pacific–Cocos–Nazca and Sur–Nubia–Antarctic, fail closure, with respective linear velocities of non-closure of 14 ± 5 and 3 ± 1 mm yr−1 (95 per cent confidence limits) at their triple junctions. We conclude that the rigid plate approximation continues to be tremendously useful, but—absent any unrecognized systematic errors—the plates deform measurably, possibly by thermal contraction and wide plate boundaries with deformation rates near or beneath the level of noise in plate kinematic data.

2,089 citations

01 Nov 1981
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors studied the effect of local derivatives on the detection of intensity edges in images, where the local difference of intensities is computed for each pixel in the image.
Abstract: Most of the signal processing that we will study in this course involves local operations on a signal, namely transforming the signal by applying linear combinations of values in the neighborhood of each sample point. You are familiar with such operations from Calculus, namely, taking derivatives and you are also familiar with this from optics namely blurring a signal. We will be looking at sampled signals only. Let's start with a few basic examples. Local difference Suppose we have a 1D image and we take the local difference of intensities, DI(x) = 1 2 (I(x + 1) − I(x − 1)) which give a discrete approximation to a partial derivative. (We compute this for each x in the image.) What is the effect of such a transformation? One key idea is that such a derivative would be useful for marking positions where the intensity changes. Such a change is called an edge. It is important to detect edges in images because they often mark locations at which object properties change. These can include changes in illumination along a surface due to a shadow boundary, or a material (pigment) change, or a change in depth as when one object ends and another begins. The computational problem of finding intensity edges in images is called edge detection. We could look for positions at which DI(x) has a large negative or positive value. Large positive values indicate an edge that goes from low to high intensity, and large negative values indicate an edge that goes from high to low intensity. Example Suppose the image consists of a single (slightly sloped) edge:

1,829 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument and Integrated Science (EMFISIS) investigation on the NASA Radiation Belt Storm Probes (now named the Van Allen Probes) mission provides key wave and very low frequency magnetic field measurements to understand radiation belt acceleration, loss, and transport.
Abstract: The Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument and Integrated Science (EMFISIS) investigation on the NASA Radiation Belt Storm Probes (now named the Van Allen Probes) mission provides key wave and very low frequency magnetic field measurements to understand radiation belt acceleration, loss, and transport. The key science objectives and the contribution that EMFISIS makes to providing measurements as well as theory and modeling are described. The key components of the instruments suite, both electronics and sensors, including key functional parameters, calibration, and performance, demonstrate that EMFISIS provides the needed measurements for the science of the RBSP mission. The EMFISIS operational modes and data products, along with online availability and data tools provide the radiation belt science community with one the most complete sets of data ever collected.

1,060 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The NASA Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission as discussed by the authors uses two spacecraft making in situ measurements for at least 2 years in nearly the same highly elliptical, low inclination orbits (1.1×5.8 RE, 10∘).
Abstract: The NASA Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission addresses how populations of high energy charged particles are created, vary, and evolve in space environments, and specifically within Earth’s magnetically trapped radiation belts. RBSP, with a nominal launch date of August 2012, comprises two spacecraft making in situ measurements for at least 2 years in nearly the same highly elliptical, low inclination orbits (1.1×5.8 RE, 10∘). The orbits are slightly different so that 1 spacecraft laps the other spacecraft about every 2.5 months, allowing separation of spatial from temporal effects over spatial scales ranging from ∼0.1 to 5 RE. The uniquely comprehensive suite of instruments, identical on the two spacecraft, measures all of the particle (electrons, ions, ion composition), fields (E and B), and wave distributions (d E and d B) that are needed to resolve the most critical science questions. Here we summarize the high level science objectives for the RBSP mission, provide historical background on studies of Earth and planetary radiation belts, present examples of the most compelling scientific mysteries of the radiation belts, present the mission design of the RBSP mission that targets these mysteries and objectives, present the observation and measurement requirements for the mission, and introduce the instrumentation that will deliver these measurements. This paper references and is followed by a number of companion papers that describe the details of the RBSP mission, spacecraft, and instruments.

1,004 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors reviewed the current understanding and recent advances in the study of ionospheric storms with emphasis on the F2-region, and proposed a global first principle physical model to simulate the storm response of the coupled neutral and ionized upper atmospheric constituents.
Abstract: In this paper, our current understanding and recent advances in the study of ionospheric storms is reviewed, with emphasis on the F2-region. Ionospheric storms represent an extreme form of space weather with important effects on ground- and space-based technological systems. These phenomena are driven by highly variable solar and magnetospheric energy inputs to the Earth's upper atmosphere, which continue to provide a major difficulty for attempts now being made to simulate the detailed storm response of the coupled neutral and ionized upper atmospheric constituents using increasingly sophisticated global first principle physical models. Several major programs for coordinated theoretical and experimental study of these storms are now underway. These are beginning to bear fruit in the form of improved physical understanding and prediction of ionospheric storm effects at high, middle, and low latitude.

828 citations