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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Excitation of Electron Cyclotron Harmonic Waves in Earth's Magnetotail

  • Author(s): Zhang, Xiaojia
  • Advisor(s): Angelopoulos, Vassilis
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation investigates the generation mechanism, spatial distribution and characteristics of electrostatic electron cyclotron harmonic (ECH) waves under different plasma sheet conditions, and quantifies the role of these waves in producing the diffuse aurora. THEMIS observations from five magnetotail seasons, along with ray-tracing, and electron diffusion codes have been utilized towards that goal. By modeling the wave growth and quasi-linear pitch-angle diffusion of electrons with realistic parameters for the magnetic field, loss-cone distribution and wave intensity (obtained from observations as a function of magnetotail location), we estimate the loss-cone fill ratio and the contribution of auroral energy flux from wave-induced electron precipitation. We conclude that ECH waves are the dominant driver of electron precipitation in the middle to outer magnetotail.

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