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  1. Abstract

    We statistically evaluate the global distribution and energy spectrum of electron precipitation at low‐Earth‐orbit, using unprecedented pitch‐angle and energy resolved data from the Electron Losses and Fields INvestigation CubeSats. Our statistical results indicate that during active conditions, the ∼63 keV electron precipitation ratio peaks atL > 6 at midnight, whereas the spatial distribution of precipitating energy flux peaks between the dawn and noon sectors. ∼1 MeV electron precipitation ratio peaks near midnight atL > ∼6 but is enhanced near dusk during active times. The energy spectrum of the precipitation ratio shows reversal points indicating energy dispersion as a function ofLshell in both the slot region and atL > ∼6, consistent with hiss‐driven precipitation and current sheet scattering, respectively. Our findings provide accurate quantification of electron precipitation at various energies in a broad region of the Earth's magnetosphere, which is critical for magnetosphere‐ionosphere coupling.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 28, 2025
  2. In this study, we present simultaneous multi-point observations of magnetospheric oscillations on a time scale of tens of minutes (forced-breathing mode) and modulated whistler-mode chorus waves, associated with concurrent energetic electron precipitation observed through enhanced BARREL X-rays. Similar fluctuations are observed in X-ray signatures and the compressional component of magnetic oscillations, spanning from ∼9 to 12 h in MLT and 5 to 11 inLshell. Such magnetospheric oscillations covering an extensive region in the pre-noon sector have been suggested to play a potential role in precipitating energetic electrons by either wave scattering or loss cone modulation, showing a high correlation with the enhancement in X-rays. In this event, the correlation coefficients between chorus waves (smoothed over 8 min), ambient magnetic field oscillations and X-rays are high. We perform an in-depth quasi-linear modeling analysis to evaluate the role of magnetic field oscillations in modulating energetic electron precipitation in the Earth’s magnetosphere through modulating whistler-mode chorus wave amplitude, resonance condition between chorus waves and electrons, as well as loss cone size. Model results further show that the modulation of chorus wave amplitude plays a dominant role in modulating the electron precipitation. However, the effect of the modulation in the resonant energy between chorus waves and energetic electrons due to the background magnetic field oscillations cannot be neglected. The bounce loss cone modulation, affected by the magnetic oscillations, has little influence on the electron precipitation modulation. Our results show that the low frequency magnetospheric oscillations could play a significant role in modulating the electron precipitation through modulating chorus wave intensity and the resonant energy between chorus waves and electron.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 22, 2025
  3. Electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves can scatter radiation belt electrons with energies of a few hundred keV and higher. To accurately predict this scattering and the resulting precipitation of these relativistic electrons on short time scales, we need detailed knowledge of the wave field’s spatio-temporal evolution, which cannot be obtained from single spacecraft measurements. Our study presents EMIC wave models obtained from two-dimensional (2D) finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations in the Earth’s dipole magnetic field. We study cases of hydrogen band and helium band wave propagation, rising-tone emissions, packets with amplitude modulations, and ducted waves. We analyze the wave propagation properties in the time domain, enabling comparison within situobservations. We show that cold plasma density gradients can keep the wave vector quasiparallel, guide the wave energy efficiently, and have a profound effect on mode conversion and reflections. The wave normal angle of unducted waves increases rapidly with latitude, resulting in reflection on the ion hybrid frequency, which prohibits propagation to low altitudes. The modeled wave fields can serve as an input for test-particle analysis of scattering and precipitation of relativistic electrons and energetic ions.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 10, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Whistler mode waves in the plasmasphere and plumes drive significant losses of energetic electrons from the Earth's radiation belts into the upper atmosphere. In this study, we conducted a survey of amplitude‐dependent whistler wave properties and analyzed their associated background plasma conditions and electron fluxes in the plasmasphere and plumes. Our findings indicate that extremely large amplitude (>400 pT) whistler waves (a) tend to occur atL > 4 over the midnight‐dawn‐noon sectors and have small wave normal angles; (b) are more likely to occur during active geomagnetic conditions associated with higher fluxes of anisotropic electrons at 10 s keV energies; and (c) tend to occur at higher latitudes up to 20° with increasing amplitude. These results suggest that extremely large amplitude whistler waves in the plasmasphere and plumes could be generated locally by injected electrons during substorms and further amplified when propagating to higher latitudes.

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  5. Abstract

    In this study, access of solar energetic protons to the inner magnetosphere on 11 September 2017 is investigated by computing the reverse particle trajectories with the Dartmouth geomagnetic cutoff code (Kress et al., 2010). The maximum and minimum cutoff rigidity at each point along the orbit of Van Allen Probe A is numerically computed by extending the code to calculate cutoff rigidity for particles coming from arbitrary direction. Pulse height analyzed (PHA) data have the advantage of providing individual particle energies and effectively excluding background high‐energy proton contamination. This technique is adopted to study the cutoff locations for solar protons with different energy. The results demonstrate that cutoff latitude is lower for solar protons with higher energy, consistent with low‐altitude vertical cutoffs. Both the observations and numerical results show that proton access into the inner magnetosphere depends strongly on angle between particle arrival direction and magnetic west. The numerical result is approximately consistent with the observation that the energy of almost all solar protons stays above the minimum cutoff rigidity.

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