Observations of radiation belt losses due to cyclotron wave-particle interactions

Lauren W. Blum, Aaron W. Breneman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


Electron loss to the atmosphere plays a critical role in driving the dynamics of the Earth's Van Allen radiation belts and slot region. This chapter is a review of atmospheric loss of radiation belt electrons caused by plasma wave scattering via Doppler-shifted cyclotron resonance. In particular, the focus is on observational signatures of electron loss, which include direct measurements of precipitating electrons, measured properties of waves that drive precipitation, and variations in the trapped population resulting from loss. We discuss wave and precipitation measurements from recent missions, including simultaneous multipayload observations, which have provided new insight into the dynamic nature of the radiation belts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Dynamic Loss of Earth's Radiation Belts
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Loss in the Magnetosphere to Particle Precipitation in the Atmosphere
Number of pages50
ISBN (Electronic)9780128133996
ISBN (Print)9780128133712
StatePublished - Sep 6 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Cyclotron resonance
  • Inner magnetosphere
  • Precipitation
  • Radiation belts
  • Wave-particle interactions


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