Control of the innermost electron radiation belt by large-scale electric fields

Electron measurements from the Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer instruments on Van Allen Probes, for kinetic energies \~100 to 400 keV, show characteristic dynamical features of the innermost ( inline image) radiation belt: rapid injections, slow decay, and structured energy spectra. There are also periods of steady or slowly increasing intensity and of fast decay following injections. Local time asymmetry, with higher intensity near dawn, is interpreted as evidence for drift shell distortion by a convection electric field of magnitude \~0.4 mV/m during geomagnetically quiet times. Fast fluctuations in the electric field, on the drift time scale, cause inward diffusion. Assuming that they are proportional to changes in Kp, the resulting diffusion coefficient is sufficient to replenish trapped electrons lost by atmospheric scattering. Major electric field increases cause injections by inward electron transport. An injection associated with the June 2015 magnetic storm is consistent with an enhanced field magnitude \~5 mV/m. Subsequent drift echoes cause spectral structure.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published