Combined Scattering Loss of Radiation Belt Relativistic Electrons by Simultaneous Three-band EMIC Waves: A Case Study

Multiband electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves can drive efficient scattering loss of radiation belt relativistic electrons. However, it is statistically uncommon to capture the three bands of EMIC waves concurrently. Utilizing data from the Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science magnetometer onboard Van Allen Probe A, we report the simultaneous presence of three (H+, He+, and O+) emission bands in an EMIC wave event, which provides an opportunity to look into the combined scattering effect of all EMIC emissions and the relative roles of each band in diffusing radiation belt relativistic electrons under realistic circumstances. Our quantitative results, obtained by quasi-linear diffusion rate computations and 1-D pure pitch angle diffusion simulations, demonstrate that the combined resonant scattering by the simultaneous three-band EMIC waves is overall dominated by He+ band wave diffusion, mainly due to its dominance over the wave power (the mean wave amplitudes are approximately 0.4 nT, 1.6 nT, and 0.15 nT for H+, He+, and O+ bands, respectively). Near the loss cone, while 2\textendash3 MeV electrons undergo pitch angle scattering at a rate of the order of 10-6\textendash10-5 s-1, 5\textendash10 MeV electrons can be diffused more efficiently at a rate of the order of 10-3\textendash10-2 s-1, which approaches the strong diffusion level and results in a moderately or heavily filled loss cone for the atmospheric loss. The corresponding electron loss timescales (i.e., lifetimes) vary from several days at the energies of ~2 MeV to less than 1 h at ~10 MeV. This case study indicates the leading contribution of He+ band waves to radiation belt relativistic electron losses during the coexistence of three EMIC wave bands and suggests that the roles of different EMIC wave bands in the relativistic electron dynamics should be carefully incorporated in future modeling efforts.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published