Effects of energy and pitch angle mixed diffusion on radiation belt electrons

Understanding the dynamics of the Earth's radiation belts is important for modeling and forecasting the intensities of energetic electrons in space. Wave diffusion processes are known to be responsible for loss and acceleration of electrons in the radiation belts. Several recent studies indicate pitch angle and energy mixed-diffusion are also important when considering the total diffusive effects. In this study, a two-dimensional Fokker Planck equation is solved numerically using the Alternating Direction Implicit method. Mixed diffusion due to whistler-mode chorus waves tends to slow down the total diffusion in the energy-pitch angle space, particularly at smaller equatorial pitch angles. We then incorporate the electron energy and pitch angle mixed diffusions due to whistler-model chorus waves into the 4-dimensional Radiation Belt Environment (RBE) model and study the effect of mixed diffusion during a storm in October 2002. The 4-D simulation results show that energy and pitch angle mixed diffusion decrease the electron fluxes in the outer belt while electron fluxes in the slot region are enhanced (up to a factor of 2) during storm time. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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Authors: Zheng, Quihua, Fok, Mei-Ching, Albert, Jay, Horne, Richard B., Meredith, Nigel P.

On this site: Nigel Meredith, Richard Horne
1 January, 2011
Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics / 73
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