Perpendicular diffusion of solar energetic particles: when is the diffusion approximation valid?
Van den Berg, J.P.
MetadataShow full item record
Multi-spacecraft observations of widespread solar energetic particle (SEP) events indicate that perpendicular (to the mean field) diffusion is an important SEP transport mechanism. However, this is in direct contrast to so-called spike and drop-out events, which indicate very little lateral transport. To better understand these seemingly incongruous observations, we discuss the recent progress made towards understanding and implementing perpendicular diffusion in transport models of SEP electrons. This includes a re-derivation of the relevant focused transport equation, a discussion surrounding the correct form of the pitch-angle dependent perpendicular diffusion coefficient and what turbulence quantities are needed as input, and how models lead to degenerate solutions of the particle intensity. Lastly, we evaluate the validity of a diffusion approach to SEP transport and conclude that it is valid when examining a large number of (an ensemble of) events, but that individual SEP events may exhibit coherent structures related to the magnetic field turbulence at short timescales that cannot be accounted for in this modelling approach