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Atmospheric Losses of Radiation Belt Electrons

Selesnick, R. S. and Blake, J. B. and Mewaldt, R. A. (2003) Atmospheric Losses of Radiation Belt Electrons. Journal of Geophysical Research A, 108 (Art. No. 28). p. 1468. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2003JA010160.

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A numerical model of the low-altitude energetic electron radiation belt, including the effects of pitch angle diffusion into the atmosphere and azimuthal drift, predicts lifetimes and longitude-dependent loss rates as a function of electron energy and diffusion coefficient. It is constrained by high-altitude (∼20,000 km) satellite measurements of the energy spectra and pitch angle distributions and then fit to low-altitude (∼600 km) data that are sensitive to the longitude dependence of the electron losses. The fits provide estimates of the parameterized diffusion coefficient. The results show that the simple drift-diffusion model can account for the main features of the low-altitude radiation belt inside the plasmasphere during periods of steady decay. The rate of pitch angle diffusion is usually stronger on the dayside than on the nightside, frequently by a factor ∼10. The average derived lifetimes for loss into the atmosphere of ∼10 days are comparable to the observed trapped electron decay rates. Considerable variability in the loss rates is positively correlated with geomagnetic activity. The results are generally consistent with electron scattering by plasmaspheric hiss as the primary mechanism for pitch angle diffusion.

Item Type:Article
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Mewaldt, R. A.0000-0003-2178-9111
Additional Information:© 2003 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 23 July 2003; revised 23 September 2003; accepted 6 October 2003; published 31 December 2003. We thank two anonymous referees for valuable comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This work was supported by NASA under grant NAG5-12766. [47] Arthur Richmond thanks Michael Schulz and another reviewer for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:electrons;radiation belt;atmospheric losses;precipitation
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2003-54
Issue or Number:Art. No. 28
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150319-131751694
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55933
Deposited By: Deborah Miles
Deposited On:20 Mar 2015 02:45
Last Modified:01 Jun 2023 22:44

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