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Timescales for electron quasi-linear diffusion by parallel and oblique lower-band chorus waves

Timescales for electron quasi-linear diffusion by parallel and oblique lower-band chorus waves

Publication date: 01 July 2012

Authors: Mourenas, D., et al.

Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Volume: 117
Page: A06234
Year: 2012

Copyright: American GEophysical Union

The loss of relativistic electrons from the Earth's radiation belts can be described in terms of the quasi-linear pitch angle diffusion by cyclotron-resonant waves, provided that their frequency spectrum is broad enough. Chorus waves at large wave-normal angles with respect to the magnetic field are often present in CLUSTER and THEMIS measurements in the outer belt at moderate to high latitudes. An approximate analytical formulation of diffusion coefficients has been derived in the low-frequency limit, leading to a simplified analytical expression of diffusion coefficients and lifetimes for energetic trapped electrons. Large values of the wave-normal angles between the Gendrin and resonance angles are shown to induce important increases in diffusion, thereby strongly reducing the particle lifetimes (by almost two orders of magnitude). The analytical diffusion coefficients and lifetimes obtained here are found to be in a good agreement with full numerical calculations based on CLUSTER chorus waves measurements in the outer belt for electron energies ranging from 100 keV to 2 MeV. Such very oblique chorus waves could contribute to a predominantly perpendicular anisotropy of the global equatorial electron population on the dayside and to a relative isotropization at low energy under disturbed conditions. It is also suggested that they might play a significant role in pulsating auroras.

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