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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Xiong, Y., Xie, L., Fu, S. Y., Ni, B. B. and Pu, Z. Y. (2021). Non-storm erosion of MeV electron outer radiation belt down to L* < 4.0 associated with successive enhancements of solar wind density. Earth Planet. Phys., 5(5), 1–11.

doi: 10.26464/epp2021051


Non-storm erosion of MeV electron outer radiation belt down to L* < 4.0 associated with successive enhancements of solar wind density


School of Earth and Space Science, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China


Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen 518055, China


Department of Space Physics, School of Electronic Information, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China

Corresponding author: Lun Xie, Fu,

Received Date: 2021-01-22
Web Publishing Date: 2021-08-11

We report an unusual non-storm erosion event of outer zone MeV electron distribution during three successive solar wind number density enhancements (SWDEs) on November 27−30, 2015. Loss of MeV electrons and energy-dependent narrowing of electron pitch angle distributions (PAD) first developed at L* = 5.5 and then moved down to L* < 4. According to the evolution of the electron phase space density (PSD) profile, losses of electrons with small pitch angles at L* > 4 during SWDE1 are mainly due to outward radial diffusion. However during SWDE2&3, scattering loss due to EMIC waves is dominant at 4 < L* < 5. As for electrons with large pitch angles, outward radial diffusion is the primary loss mechanism throughout all SWDEs which is consistent with the incursion of the Last Closed Drift Shell (LCDS). The inner edge of EMIC wave activity moved from L* ~5 to L* ~4 and from L ~6.4 to L ~4.2 from SWDE1 to SWDE2&3, respectively, observed by Van Allen Probes and by ground stations. This is consistent with the inward penetration of anisotropic energetic protons from L* = 4.5 to L* = 3.5, suggesting that the inward extension of EMIC waves may be driven by the inward injection of anisotropic energetic protons from the dense plasma sheet.

Key words: solar wind density enhancement; outer radiation belt; MeV electrons; outward radial diffusion; EMIC wave scattering loss

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Non-storm erosion of MeV electron outer radiation belt down to L* < 4.0 associated with successive enhancements of solar wind density

Ying Xiong, Lun Xie, SuiYan Fu, BinBin Ni, ZuYin Pu