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Dependence of Relativistic Electron Precipitation in the Ionosphere on EMIC Wave Minimum Resonant Energy at the Conjugate Equator

Abstract We investigate relativistic electron precipitation events detected by POES in low-Earth orbit in close conjunction with Van Allen Probe A observations of EMIC waves near the geomagnetic equator. We show that the occurrence rate of > 0.7 MeV electron precipitation recorded by POES during those times strongly increases, reaching statistically significant levels when the minimum electron energy for cyclotron resonance with hydrogen or helium band EMIC waves at the equator decreases below ≃ 1.0 − 2.5 MeV, as expected from quasi-linear theory. Both hydrogen and helium band EMIC waves can be effective in precipitating MeV electrons. However, > 0.7 MeV electron precipitation is more often observed (at statistically significant levels) when the minimum electron energy for cyclotron resonance with hydrogen band waves is low (Emin = 0.6 − 1.0 MeV), whereas it is more often observed when the minimum electron energy for cyclotron resonance with helium band waves is slightly larger (Emin = 1.0 − 2.5 MeV), indicative of warm plasma effects for waves approaching the He+ gyrofrequency. We further show that most precipitation events had energies > 0.7 − 1.0 MeV, consistent with the estimated minimum energy (Emin ∼ 0.6 − 2.5 MeV) of cyclotron resonance with the observed EMIC waves during the majority of these events. However, 4 out of the 12 detected precipitation events cannot be explained by electron quasi-linear scattering by the observed EMIC waves, and 12 out of 20 theoretically expected precipitation events were not detected by POES, suggesting the possibility of nonlinear effects likely present near the magnetic equator, or warm plasma effects, and/or narrowly localized bursts of EMIC waves. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Zhang, X.-J.; Mourenas, D.; Shen, X.-C.; Qin, M.; Artemyev, A.; Ma, Q.; Li, W.; Hudson, M.; Angelopoulos, V.;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 04/2021

YEAR: 2021     DOI:

EMIC waves; relativistic electron precipitation; minimum resonant energy; Van Allen Probes; POES; Radiation belts


Investigating Loss of Relativistic Electrons Associated With EMIC Waves at Low L Values on 22 June 2015

In this study, rapid loss of relativistic radiation belt electrons at low L* values (2.4\textendash3.2) during a strong geomagnetic storm on 22 June 2015 is investigated along with five possible loss mechanisms. Both the particle and wave data are obtained from the Van Allen Probes. Duskside H+ band electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves were observed during a rapid decrease of relativistic electrons with energy above 5.2 MeV occurring outside the plasmasphere during extreme magnetopause compression. Lower He+ composition and enriched O+ composition are found compared to typical values assumed in other studies of cyclotron resonant scattering of relativistic electrons by EMIC waves. Quantitative analysis demonstrates that even with the existence of He+ band EMIC waves, it is the H+ band EMIC waves that are likely to cause the depletion at small pitch angles and strong gradients in pitch angle distributions of relativistic electrons with energy above 5.2 MeV at low L values for this event. Very low frequency wave activity at other magnetic local time can be favorable for the loss of relativistic electrons at higher pitch angles. An illustrative calculation that combines the nominal pitch angle scattering rate due to whistler mode chorus at high pitch angles with the H+ band EMIC wave loss rate at low pitch angles produces loss on time scale observed at L=2.4\textendash3.2. At high L values and lower energies, radial loss to the magnetopause is a viable explanation.

Qin, Murong; Hudson, Mary; Li, Zhao; Millan, Robyn; Shen, Xiaochen; Shprits, Yuri; Woodger, Leslie; Jaynes, Allison; Kletzing, Craig;

Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics      Published on: 05/2019

YEAR: 2019     DOI: 10.1029/2018JA025726

cold ion composition; EMIC wave; minimum resonant energy; pitch angle diffusion; quasi-linear theory; relativistic electron loss; Van Allen Probes