Louis Ozeke

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We present simulations of the outer radiation belt electron flux during the March 2015 and March 2013 storms using a radial diffusion model. Despite differences in Dst intensity between the two storms the response of the ultra-relativistic electrons in the outer radiation belt was remarkably similar, both showing a sudden drop in the electron flux followed by a rapid enhancement in the outer belt flux to levels over an order of magnitude higher than those observed during the pre-storm interval. Simulations of the ultra-relativistic electron flux during the March 2015 storm show that outward radial diffusion can explain the flux dropout down to L*=4. However, in order to reproduce the observed flux dropout at L*<4 requires the addition of a loss process characterised by an electron lifetime of around one hour operating below L*~3.5 during the flux dropout interval. Nonetheless, during the pre-storm and recovery phase of both storms the radial diffusion simulation reproduces the observed flux dynamics. For the March 2013 storm the flux dropout across all L-shells is reproduced by outward radial diffusion activity alone. However, during the flux enhancement interval at relativistic energies there is evidence of a growing local peak in the electron phase space density at L*~3.8, consistent with local acceleration such as by VLF chorus waves. Overall the simulation results for both storms can accurately reproduce the observed electron flux only when event specific radial diffusion coefficients are used, instead of the empirical diffusion coefficients derived from ULF wave statistics.