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Convective and diffusive ULF wave driven radiation belt electron transport

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  • The process of magnetospheric radiation belt electron transport driven by ULF waves is studied using a 2-D ideal MHD model for ULF waves in the equatorial plane including day/night asymmetry and a magnetopause boundary, and a test kinetic model for equatorially mirroring electrons. We find that ULF wave disturbances originating along the magnetopause flanks in the afternoon sector can act to periodically inject phase space density from these regions into the magnetosphere. Closely spaced drift-resonant surfaces for electrons with a given magnetic moment in the presence of the ULF waves create a layer of stochastic dynamics for L-shells above 6.5-7 in the cases examined, extending to the magnetopause. The phase decorrelation time scale for the stochastic region is estimated by the relaxation time for the diffusion coefficient to reach a steady value. This is found to be of the order of 10-15 wave periods, which is commensurate with the typical duration of observed ULF wave packets in the magnetosphere. For L-shells earthward of the stochastic layer, transport is limited to isolated drift-resonant islands in the case of narrowband ULF waves. We examine the effect of increasing the bandwidth of the ULF wave driver by summing together wave components produced by a set of independent runs of the ULF wave model. The wave source spectrum is given a flat-top amplitude of variable width (adjusted for constant power) and random phase. We find that increasing bandwidth can significantly enhance convective transport earthward of the stochastic layer and extend the stochastic layer to lower L-shells.

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    © 2011 American Geophysical Union. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Degeling, Alex W., Rankin, Robert, & Elkington, Scot R. (2011). Convective and diffusive ULF wave driven radiation belt electron transport. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 116(A12), 1-11.
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