Radiation belt slot-region filling events: sustained energetic precipitation into the mesosphere

Kavanagh, Andrew J. ORCID:; Cobbett, Neil; Kirsch, Peter ORCID: 2018 Radiation belt slot-region filling events: sustained energetic precipitation into the mesosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 123 (9). 7999-8020.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
Copyright American Geophysical Union
Kavanagh_et_al-2018-Journal_of_Geophysical_Research__Space_Physics.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview


Precipitation of energetic electrons to the atmosphere is both a loss mechanism for radiation belt particles and a means by which the geospace environment influences the Earth's atmosphere; thus it is important to fully understand the extent of this precipitation. A set of polar orbiting satellites have been used to identify periods when energetic charged particles fill the slot region between the inner and outer radiation belts. These suggest that electrons with energies >30 keV penetrate this region, even under levels of modest geomagnetic activity. Those events with sufficient fluxes of particles produce enough ionization to be detected by a ground‐based radar in Antarctica; this precipitation lasts for ~10 days on average. Analysis of these data reveal that the average precipitation penetrates to the stratopause (~55 km altitude). For some (if not all) of these events, the likely cause of the most energetic precipitation is an interaction between (relativistic) electrons and plasmaspheric hiss leading to little, if no, local time variation in precipitation. This does not preclude a longitudinal effect given that all radar measurements are fixed in longitude. During winter months the radar is under the stable southern polar atmospheric vortex. This transports atmospheric species to lower altitudes including the ozone destroying chemicals that are produced by energetic precipitation. Thus the precipitation from the slot region in the southern hemisphere will likely contribute to the destruction of ozone and changes to atmospheric heat balance and chemistry; more work is required to determine the true impact of these events.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 21699380
Additional Keywords: MF radar, Mesosphere, slot region, Antarctic,absorption
Date made live: 20 Sep 2018 13:14 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...