Wave energy budget analysis in the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts uncovers a missing energy

Author
Keywords
Abstract
Whistler-mode emissions are important electromagnetic waves pervasive in the Earth\textquoterights magnetosphere, where they continuously remove or energize electrons trapped by the geomagnetic field, controlling radiation hazards to satellites and astronauts and the upper-atmosphere ionization or chemical composition. Here, we report an analysis of 10-year Cluster data, statistically evaluating the full wave energy budget in the Earth\textquoterights magnetosphere, revealing that a significant fraction of the energy corresponds to hitherto generally neglected very oblique waves. Such waves, with 10 times smaller magnetic power than parallel waves, typically have similar total energy. Moreover, they carry up to 80\% of the wave energy involved in wave\textendashparticle resonant interactions. It implies that electron heating and precipitation into the atmosphere may have been significantly under/over-valued in past studies considering only conventional quasi-parallel waves. Very oblique waves may turn out to be a crucial agent of energy redistribution in the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts, controlled by solar activity.
Year of Publication
2015
Journal
Nature Communications
Volume
6
Number of Pages
8143
Date Published
05/2015
URL
http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/ncomms8143
DOI
10.1038/ncomms8143