Evidence of sub-MeV EMIC-driven electron precipitation

Electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves are potentially important drivers of the loss of energetic electrons from the radiation belts. Numerous theoretical calculations exist with conflicting predictions of one of the key parameters: the minimum resonance energy of electrons precipitated into the atmosphere by EMIC waves. In this study we initially analyze an EMIC electron precipitation event using data from two different spacecraft instruments to investigate the energies involved. Combining observations from these satellites, we find that the electron precipitation has a peak flux at ∼250 keV. Extending the analysis technique to a previously published database of similar scattering events, we find that the peak electron precipitation flux occurs predominantly around 300 keV, with only ∼11% of events peaking in the 1–4 MeV range. Such a significant population of low-energy EMIC-driven electron precipitation events highlights the possibility for EMIC waves to be significant drivers of radiation belt electron losses.


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Authors: Hendry, Aaron T., Rodger, Craig J., Clilverd, Mark A.

On this site: Mark Clilverd
1 February, 2017
Geophysical Research Letters / 44
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