Explaining the dynamics of the ultra-relativistic third Van Allen radiation belt

Mann, Ian R. and Ozeke, L.G. and Murphy, Kyle R. and Clauderpierre, S. G. and Turner, D. L and Baker, D. N and Rae, I. J. and Kale, A. and Milling, David and Boyd, A. J. and Spence, H. E. and Reeves, G. D. and Singer, H. J and Dimitrakoudis, S. and Daglis, I. A. and Honary, Farideh (2016) Explaining the dynamics of the ultra-relativistic third Van Allen radiation belt. Nature Physics, 12 (10). pp. 978-983. ISSN 1745-2473

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Since the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts over 50 years ago, an explanation for their complete dynamics has remained elusive. Especially challenging is understanding the recently discovered ultra-relativistic third electron radiation belt. Current theory asserts that loss in the heart of the outer belt, essential to the formation of the third belt, must be controlled by high-frequency plasma wave–particle scattering into the atmosphere, via whistler mode chorus, plasmaspheric hiss, or electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves. However, this has failed to accurately reproduce the third belt. Using a data driven, time-dependent specification of ultra-low-frequency (ULF) waves we show for the first time how the third radiation belt is established as a simple, elegant consequence of storm-time extremely fast outward ULF wave transport. High-frequency wave–particle scattering loss into the atmosphere is not needed in this case. When rapid ULF wave transport coupled to a dynamic boundary is accurately specified, the sensitive dynamics controlling the enigmatic ultra-relativistic third radiation belt are naturally explained

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Journal Article
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Nature Physics
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© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.
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11 Oct 2016 12:10
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 02:08