Radiation belt dynamics: The importance of wave-particle interactions

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Abstract

[1] The flux of energetic electrons in the Earth's outer radiation belt can vary by several orders of magnitude over time scales less than a day, in response to changes in properties of the solar wind instigated by solar activity. Variability in the radiation belts is due to an imbalance between the dominant source and loss processes, caused by a violation of one or more of the adiabatic invariants. For radiation belt electrons, non-adiabatic behavior is primarily associated with energy and momentum transfer during interactions with various magnetospheric waves. A review is presented here of recent advances in both our understanding and global modeling of such wave-particle interactions, which have led to a paradigm shift in our understanding of electron acceleration in the radiation belts; internal local acceleration, rather than radial diffusion now appears to be the dominant acceleration process during the recovery phase of magnetic storms.

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