In the outer radiation belt, the acceleration and loss of high‐energy electrons is largely controlled by wave‐particle interactions. Quasilinear diffusion coefficients are an efficient way to capture the small‐scale physics of wave‐particle interactions due to magnetospheric wave modes such as plasmaspheric hiss. The strength of quasilinear diffusion coefficients as a function of energy and pitch angle depends on both wave parameters and plasma parameters such as ambient magnetic field strength, plasma number density, and composition. For plasmaspheric hiss in the magnetosphere, observations indicate large variations in the wave intensity and wave normal angle, but less is known about the simultaneous variability of the magnetic field and number density. We use in situ measurements from the Van Allen Probe mission to demonstrate the variability of selected factors that control the size and shape of pitch angle diffusion coefficients: wave intensity, magnetic field strength, and electron number density. We then compare with the variability of diffusion coefficients calculated individually from colocated and simultaneous groups of measurements. We show that the distribution of the plasmaspheric hiss diffusion coefficients is highly non‐Gaussian with large variance and that the distributions themselves vary strongly across the three phase space bins studied. In most bins studied, the plasmaspheric hiss diffusion coefficients tend to increase with geomagnetic activity, but our results indicate that new approaches that include natural variability may yield improved parameterizations. We suggest methods like stochastic parameterization of wave‐particle interactions could use variability information to improve modeling of the outer radiation belt.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Journal of Geophysical Research|
|Early online date||7 Nov 2019|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2019|