Ducted chorus waves cause sub‐relativistic and relativistic electron microbursts
During magnetospheric storms, radiation belt electrons are produced and then removed by collisions with the lower atmosphere on varying timescales. An efficient loss process is microbursts, strong, transient precipitation of electrons over a wide energy range, from tens of keV to sub-relativistic and relativistic energies (100s keV and above). However, the detailed generation mechanism of microbursts, especially over sub-relativistic and relativistic energies, remains unknown. Here we show that these energetic electron microbursts may be caused by ducted whistler-mode lower-band chorus waves. Using observations of equatorial chorus waves nearby low-altitude precipitation as well as data-driven simulations, we demonstrate that the observed microbursts are the result of resonant interaction of electrons with ducted chorus waves rather than nonducted ones. Revealing the physical mechanism behind the microbursts advances our understanding of radiation belt dynamics and its impact on the lower atmosphere and space weather.
Authors: Chen, Lunjin, Zhang, Xiao‐Jia, Artemyev, Anton, Angelopoulos, Vassilis, Tsai, Ethan, Wilkins, Colin, Horne, Richard B. ORCID record for Richard B. Horne