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Unraveling the Atmospheric Energy Input and Ionization due to EMIC-Driven Electron Precipitation from ELFIN Observations
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  • Luisa Capannolo,
  • Robert Andrew Marshall,
  • Wen Li,
  • Grant Berland,
  • Katharine A. Duderstadt,
  • Nithin Sivadas,
  • Drew L. Turner,
  • Vassilis Angelopoulos
Luisa Capannolo
Boston University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Robert Andrew Marshall
University of Colorado Boulder
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Wen Li
Boston University
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Grant Berland
University of Colorado Boulder
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Katharine A. Duderstadt
University of New Hampshire
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Nithin Sivadas
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Drew L. Turner
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
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Vassilis Angelopoulos
University of California Los Angeles
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Energetic electron precipitation (EEP) from the radiation belts into Earth’s atmosphere leads to several profound effects (e.g., enhancement of ionospheric conductivity, possible acceleration of ozone destruction processes). An accurate quantification of the energy input and ionization due to EEP is still lacking due to instrument limitations of low-Earth-orbit satellites capable of detecting EEP. The deployment of the ELFIN (Electron Losses and Fields InvestigatioN) CubeSats marks a new era of observations of EEP with an improved pitch-angle (0°–180°) and energy (50 keV–6 MeV) resolution. Here, we focus on the EEP recorded by ELFIN coincident with electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves, which play a major role in radiation belt electron losses. The EMIC-driven EEP (~200 keV – ~2 MeV) exhibits a pitch-angle distribution (PAD) that flattens with increasing energy, indicating more efficient high-energy precipitation. Leveraging the combination of unique electron measurements from ELFIN and a comprehensive ionization model known as Boulder Electron Radiation to Ionization (BERI), we quantify the energy input of EMIC-driven precipitation (on average, ~3.3x10-2 erg/cm2/s), identify its location (any longitude, 50°–70° latitude), and provide the expected range of ion-electron production rate (on average, 100–200 pairs/cm3/s), peaking in the mesosphere – a region often overlooked. Our findings are crucial for improving our understanding of the magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere system as they accurately specify the contribution of EMIC-driven EEP, which serves as a crucial input to state-of-the-art atmospheric models (e.g., WACCM) to quantify the accurate impact of EMIC waves on both the atmospheric chemistry and dynamics.
05 Apr 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
16 Apr 2024Published in ESS Open Archive
Jun 2024Published in AGU Advances volume 5 issue 3. 10.1029/2023AV001096