Outer radiation belt dropout dynamics following the arrival of two interplanetary coronal mass ejections

L. R. Alves, L. A. Da Silva, V. M. Souza, D. G. Sibeck, P. R. Jauer, L. E A Vieira, B. M. Walsh, M. V D Silveira, J. P. Marchezi, M. Rockenbach, A. Dal Lago, O. Mendes, B. T. Tsurutani, D. Koga, S. G. Kanekal, D. N. Baker, J. R. Wygant, C. A. Kletzing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Magnetopause shadowing and wave-particle interactions are recognized as the two primary mechanisms for losses of electrons from the outer radiation belt. We investigate these mechanisms, using satellite observations both in interplanetary space and within the magnetosphere and particle drift modeling. Two interplanetary shocks/sheaths impinged upon the magnetopause causing a relativistic electron flux dropout. The magnetic cloud (MC) and interplanetary structure sunward of the MC had primarily northward magnetic field, perhaps leading to a concomitant lack of substorm activity and a 10 daylong quiescent period. The arrival of two shocks caused an unusual electron flux dropout. Test-particle simulations have shown ∼ 2 to 5 MeV energy, equatorially mirroring electrons with initial values of L≥5.5 can be lost to the magnetosheath via magnetopause shadowing alone. For electron losses at lower L-shells, coherent chorus wave-driven pitch angle scattering and ULF wave-driven radial transport have been shown to be viable mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-987
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 16 2016

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  • adiabatic radial transport
  • magnetopause shadowing
  • nonadiabatic radial transport
  • outer radiation belt dynamics
  • relativistic electron loss


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