Radiation Belt “Dropouts” and Drift-Bounce Resonances in Broadband Electromagnetic Waves

C. C. Chaston, J. W. Bonnell, J. R. Wygant, G. D. Reeves, D. N. Baker, D. B. Melrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Observations during the main phase of geomagnetic storms reveal an anticorrelation between the occurrence of broadband low-frequency electromagnetic waves and outer radiation belt electron flux. We show that the drift-bounce motion of electrons in the magnetic field of these waves leads to rapid electron transport. For observed spectral energy densities it is demonstrated that the wave magnetic field can drive radial diffusion via drift-bounce resonance on time scales less than a drift orbit. This process may provide outward transport sufficient to account for electron “dropouts” during storm main phase and more generally modulate the outer radiation belt during geomagnetic storms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2128-2137
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 16 2018


  • Alfven waves
  • geomagnetic storms
  • radial transport
  • radiation belts

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