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Inner belt electron decay timescales: a comparison of Van Allen Probes and DREAM3D losses following the June 2015 storm
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  • Jeffrey Michael Broll,
  • Gregory Scott Cunningham,
  • David M. Malaspina,
  • Seth G. Claudepierre,
  • Jean-Francois Ripoll
Jeffrey Michael Broll
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Corresponding Author:broll@lanl.gov

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Gregory Scott Cunningham
Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE)
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David M. Malaspina
University of Colorado Boulder
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Seth G. Claudepierre
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Jean-Francois Ripoll
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NASA’s Van Allen Probes observed significant, long-lived fluxes of inner belt electrons up to ~1MeV after geomagnetic storms in March and June 2015. Reanalysis of MagEIS data with improved background correction showed a clearer picture of the relativistic electron population that persisted through 2016 and into 2017 above the Fennel et al. (2015) limit. The intensity and duration of these enhancements allow estimation of decay timescales for comparison with simulated decay rates and theoretical lifetimes. We compare decay timescales from these data and DREAM3D simulations based on them using geomagnetic activity-dependent pitch angle diffusion coefficients derived from plasmapause-indexed wave data (Malaspina et al., 2016, 2018) and phase space densities derived from MagEIS observations. Simulated decay rates match observed decay rates more closely than the theoretical lifetime due to significantly nonequilibrium pitch angle distributions in simulation and data. We conclude that nonequilibrium effects, rather than a missing diffusion or loss process, account for observed short decay rates.