Articles | Volume 32, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 32, 925–934, 2014
Ann. Geophys., 32, 925–934, 2014

Regular paper 08 Aug 2014

Regular paper | 08 Aug 2014

Radial diffusion simulations of the 20 September 2007 radiation belt dropout

J. Albert J. Albert
  • Air Force Research Laboratory, 3550 Aberdeen Avenue SE, Kirtland AFB, NM, USA

Abstract. This is a study of a dropout of radiation belt electrons, associated with an isolated solar wind density pulse on 20 September 2007, as seen by the solid-state telescopes (SST) detectors on THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms). Omnidirectional fluxes were converted to phase space density at constant invariants M = 700 MeV G−1 and K = 0.014 RE G1/2, with the assumption of local pitch angle α ≈ 80° and using the T04 magnetic field model. The last closed drift shell, which was calculated throughout the time interval, never came within the simulation outer boundary of L* = 6. It is found, using several different models for diffusion rates, that radial diffusion alone only allows the data-driven, time-dependent boundary values at Lmax = 6 and Lmin = 3.7 to propagate a few tenths of an RE during the simulation; far too slow to account for the dropout observed over the broad range of L* = 4–5.5. Pitch angle diffusion via resonant interactions with several types of waves (chorus, electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves, and plasmaspheric and plume hiss) also seems problematic, for several reasons which are discussed.