Direct Evidence of EMIC-Driven Electron Loss in Space: Evaluation of an Electron Dropout Event

Monday, 14 December 2015: 17:48
2018 (Moscone West)
Xiaojia Zhang, Wen Li, Qianli Ma, Richard M Thorne and Vassilis Angelopoulos, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves have been proposed as a mechanism to cause efficient losses of highly relativistic (>MeV) electrons via gyroresonant interactions. However, simultaneous observations of EMIC waves and equatorial electron pitch angle distributions, which can be used to directly quantify the EMIC wave scattering effect, are still very limited. In the present study, we evaluate the effect of EMIC waves on the pitch angle scattering of relativistic and ultrarelativistic (0.5-5 MeV) electrons during the main phase of a geomagnetic storm, when intense EMIC wave activity was observed in situ (in the plasma plume region with high plasma density) on both the Van Allen Probes and one of the THEMIS probes. EMIC waves captured on the ground across the Canadian Array for Real-time Investigations of Magnetic Activity (CARISMA) and enhanced precipitation of >~0.7 MeV electrons captured by POES are used to infer the MLT coverage of EMIC waves. Based on the observed EMIC wave spectra, local fpe and fce, we estimate the wave diffusion rates and model the evolution of electron pitch angle distributions. By comparing the modeled results with local observations of pitch angle distributions, for the first time, we are able to show direct, quantitative evidence of EMIC wave-driven relativistic electron loss in the Earth’s outer radiation belt.