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Modeling inward diffusion and slow decay of energetic electrons in the Earth's outer radiation belt


A new 3-D diffusion code is used to investigate the inward intrusion and slow decay of energetic radiation belt electrons (>0.5MeV) observed by the Van Allen Probes during a 10day quiet period on March 2013. During the inward transport, the peak differential electron fluxes decreased by approximately an order of magnitude at various energies. Our 3-D radiation belt simulation including radial diffusion and pitch angle and energy diffusion by plasmaspheric hiss and electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves reproduces the essential features of the observed electron flux evolution. The decay time scales and the pitch angle distributions in our simulation are consistent with the Van Allen Probe observations over multiple energy channels. Our study suggests that the quiet time energetic electron dynamics are effectively controlled by inward radial diffusion and pitch angle scattering due to a combination of plasmaspheric hiss and EMIC waves in the Earth's radiation belts.

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