The implications of temporal variability in wave‐particle interactions in Earth's Radiation Belts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



External departments

  • University of Reading
  • GFZ Helmholtz Centre POTSDAM
  • British Antarctic Survey
  • University College London


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL089962
Number of pages19
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2021
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Changes in electron flux in Earth's outer radiation belt can be modeled using a diffusion‐based framework. Diffusion coefficients D for such models are often constructed from statistical averages of observed inputs. Here, we use stochastic parameterization to investigate the consequences of temporal variability in D. Variability time scales are constrained using Van Allen Probe observations. Results from stochastic parameterization experiments are compared with experiments using D constructed from averaged inputs and an average of observation‐specific D. We find that the evolution and final state of the numerical experiment depends upon the variability time scale of D; experiments with longer variability time scales differ from those with shorter time scales, even when the time‐integrated diffusion is the same. Short variability time scale experiments converge with solutions obtained using an averaged observation‐specific D, and both exhibit greater diffusion than experiments using the averaged‐input D. These experiments reveal the importance of temporal variability in radiation belt diffusion.

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