Electron Scattering by Plasmaspheric Hiss in a Nightside Plume

Plasmaspheric hiss is known to play an important role in radiation belt electron dynamics in high plasma density regions. We present observations of two crossings of a plasmaspheric plume by the Van Allen Probes on 26 December 2012, which occurred unusually at the post-midnight-to-dawn sector between L ~ 4\textendash6 during a geomagnetically quiet period. This plume exhibited pronounced electron densities higher than those of the average plume level. Moderate hiss emissions accompanied the two plume crossings with the peak power at about 100 Hz. Quantification of quasi-linear bounce-averaged electron scattering rates by hiss in the plume demonstrates that the waves are efficient to pitch angle scatter ~10\textendash100 keV electrons at rates up to ~10-4 s-1 near the loss cone but become gradually insignificant to scatter the higher energy electron population. The resultant timescales of electron loss due to hiss in the nightside plume vary largely with electron kinetic energy over 3 orders of magnitude, that is, from several hours for tens of keV electrons to a few days for hundreds of keV electrons to well above 100 days for >1 MeV electrons. Changing slightly with L-shell and the multiquartile profile of hiss spectral intensity, these electron loss timescales suggest that hiss emissions in the nightside plume act as a viable candidate for the fast loss of the ≲100 keV electrons and the slow decay of higher energy electrons.
Year of Publication
Geophysical Research Letters
Date Published