Statistical comparison of electron loss and enhancement in the outer radiation belt during storms

The near-relativistic electron population in the outer Van Allen radiation belt is highly dynamic and strongly coupled to geomagnetic activity such as storms and substorms, which are driven by the interaction of the magnetosphere with the solar wind. The energy, content and spatial extent of electrons in the outer radiation belt can vary on timescales of hours to days, dictated by the continuously evolving influence of acceleration and loss processes. While net changes in the electron population are directly observable, the relative influence of different processes is far from fully understood. Using a continuous 12-year dataset from the Proton Electron Telescope (PET) on board the Solar Anomalous Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX), we statistically compare the relative variations of trapped electrons to those in the bounce loss cone. Our results show that there is a proportional increase in flux entering the bounce loss cone outside the plasmapause during storm main phase and early recovery phase. Loss enhancement is sustained on the dawnside throughout the recovery phase while loss on the duskside is enhanced around minimum Sym-H and quickly diminishes. Spatial variations are also examined in relation to geomagnetic activity, making comparisons to possible causal wave modes such as whistler-mode chorus and plasmaspheric hiss.


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Authors: Walton, S. D., Forsyth, C., Rae, I.J., Meredith, N.P. ORCIDORCID record for N.P. Meredith, Sandhu, J.K., Walach, M.‐T., Murphy, K.R.

On this site: Nigel Meredith
1 May, 2022
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics / 127
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