Electron lifetimes from narrowband wave-particle interactions within the plasmasphere

This paper is devoted to the systematic study of electron lifetimes from narrowband wave-particle interactions within the plasmasphere. It relies on a new formulation of the bounce-averaged quasi-linear pitch angle diffusion coefficients parameterized by a single frequency, ω, and wave normal angle, θ. We first show that the diffusion coefficients scale with ω/Ωce, where Ωce is the equatorial electron gyrofrequency, and that maximal pitch angle diffusion occurs along the line α0 = π/2\textendashθ, where α0 is the equatorial pitch angle. Lifetimes are computed for L shell values in the range [1.5, 3.5] and energies, E, in the range [0.1, 6] MeV as a function of frequency and wave normal angle. The maximal pitch angle associated with a given lifetime is also given, revealing the frequencies that are able to scatter nearly equatorial pitch angle particles. The lifetimes are relatively independent of frequency and wave normal angle after taking into consideration the scaling law, with a weak dependence on wave normal angle up to 60\textendash70\textdegree, increasing to infinity as the wave normal angle approaches the resonance cone. We identify regions in the (L, E) plane in which a single wave type (hiss, VLF transmitters, or lightning-generated waves) is dominant relative to the others. We find that VLF waves dominate the lifetime for 0.2\textendash0.4 MeV at L ~ 2 and for 0.5\textendash0.8 MeV at L ~ 1.5, while hiss dominates the lifetime for 2\textendash3 MeV at L = 3\textendash3.5. The influence of lightning-generated waves is always mixed with the other two and cannot be easily differentiated. Limitations of the method for addressing effects due to restricted latitude or pitch angle domains are also discussed. Finally, for each (L, E) we search for the minimum lifetime and find that the optimal frequency that produces this lifetime increases as L diminishes. Restricting the search to very oblique waves, which could be emitted during the Demonstration and Science Experiments satellite mission, we find that the optimal frequency is always close to 0.16Ωce.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published