Investigating radiation belt losses though numerical modelling of precipitating fluxes
Abstract. It has been suggested that whistler-induced electron precipitation (WEP) may be the most significant inner radiation belt loss process for some electron energy ranges. One area of uncertainty lies in identifying a typical estimate of the precipitating fluxes from the examples given in the literature to date. Here we aim to solve this difficulty through modelling satellite and ground-based observations of onset and decay of the precipitation and its effects in the ionosphere by examining WEP-produced Trimpi perturbations in subionospheric VLF transmissions. In this study we find that typical Trimpi are well described by the effects of WEP spectra derived from the AE-5 inner radiation belt model for typical precipitating energy fluxes. This confirms the validity of the radiation belt lifetimes determined in previous studies using these flux parameters. We find that the large variation in observed Trimpi perturbation size occurring over time scales of minutes to hours is primarily due to differing precipitation flux levels rather than changing WEP spectra. Finally, we show that high-time resolution measurements during the onset of Trimpi perturbations should provide a useful signature for discriminating WEP Trimpi from non-WEP Trimpi, due to the pulsed nature of the WEP arrival.