Observation of relativistic electron microbursts in conjunction with intense radiation belt whistler-mode waves

K. Kersten, C. A. Cattell, A. Breneman, K. Goetz, P. J. Kellogg, J. R. Wygant, L. B. Wilson, J. B. Blake, M. D. Looper, I. Roth

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Abstract

We present multi-satellite observations of large amplitude radiation belt whistler-mode waves and relativistic electron precipitation. On separate occasions during the Wind petal orbits and STEREO phasing orbits, Wind and STEREO recorded intense whistler-mode waves in the outer nightside equatorial radiation belt with peak-to-peak amplitudes exceeding 300 mV/m. During these intervals of intense wave activity, SAMPEX recorded relativistic electron microbursts in near magnetic conjunction with Wind and STEREO. This evidence of microburst precipitation occurring at the same time and at nearly the same magnetic local time and L-shell with a bursty temporal structure similar to that of the observed large amplitude wave packets suggests a causal connection between the two phenomena. Simulation studies corroborate this idea, showing that nonlinear wave-particle interactions may result in rapid energization and scattering on timescales comparable to those of the impulsive relativistic electron precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL08107
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 28 2011

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