The Evolution of a Pitch-Angle \textquotedblleftBite-Out\textquotedblright Scattering Signature Caused by EMIC Wave Activity: A Case Study

Electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves are understood to be one of the dominant drivers of relativistic electron loss from Earth\textquoterights radiation belts. Theory predicts that the associated gyroresonant wave-particle interaction results in a distinct energy-dependent \textquotedblleftbite-out\textquotedblright signature in the normalized flux distribution of electrons as they are scattered into the loss cone. We identify such signatures along with the responsible EMIC waves captured in situ by the Van Allen Probes on 15\textendash16 February 2017. Using the cold plasma approximation, we predict the pitch-angle cutoffs for the scattering signature for the captured EMIC wave and find it in good agreement with the observed electron bite-out scattering signature. Employing the close conjunction between the Van Allen Probes and THEMIS during this time, we explore the temporal and spatial evolution of the scattering signature, as well as the surrounding wave activity, and find that the scattering signature formed during continued wave activity over a period less than a day. These results are consistent with wave-particle interaction theory and support the hypothesis that EMIC waves are an important mechanism for rapid relativistic electron loss from the radiation belts.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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