Pitch Angle Scattering and Loss of Radiation Belt Electrons in Broadband Electromagnetic Waves
A magnetic conjunction between Van Allen Probes spacecraft and the Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) reveals the simultaneous occurrence of broadband Alfv\ enic fluctuations and multi-timescale modulation of enhanced atmospheric X-ray bremsstrahlung emission. The properties of the Alfv\ enic fluctuations are used to build a model for pitch angle scattering in the outer radiation belt on electron gyro-radii scale field structures. It is shown that this scattering may lead to the transport of electrons into the loss cone over an energy range from hundreds of keV to multi-MeV on diffusive timescales on the order of hours. This process may account for modulation of atmospheric X-ray fluxes observed from balloons and constitute a significant loss process for the radiation belts.
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Geophysical Research Letters