Long-Term Dropout of Relativistic Electrons in the Outer Radiation Belt During Two Sequential Geomagnetic Storms
On 31 January 2016, the flux of >2 MeV electrons observed by Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-13 dropped to the background level during a minor storm main phase (−48 nT). Then, a second storm (−53 nT) occurred on 2 February; during the 3 days after its main phase, the flux remained at background level. Using data from various instruments on the GOES, Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES), Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), Meteor-M2, and Fengyun-series spacecraft, we study this long-term dropout of MeV electrons during two sequential storms of similar magnitude under lightly disturbed solar wind conditions. Observations from low-altitude satellites show that the fluxes decreased first at higher L-shells and then gradually propagated inward. Moreover, the fluxes were almost completely lost and dropped to the background level at L > 5, while the fluxes at 4 < L < 5 were partly lost, as observed by RBSP and low-altitude satellites. Finally, observations show that on 5 February, only the fluxes at L > 5.5 recovered, while the fluxes at 4 < L < 5 did not return to the prestorm levels. These observations indicate that the loss and recovery processes developed first at higher L-shells. Phase space density (PSD) analysis shows that radial outward diffusion was the main reason for the dropout at higher L-shells. Regarding electron enhancement, stronger inward diffusion was accompanied by ultra-low-frequency (ULF) wave activities at higher L-shells, and chorus waves observed at outer L-shells provided conditions for relativistic electron flux recovery to the prestorm levels.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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