University of Oulu

Bernhardt, P. A., Hua, M., Bortnik, J., Ma, Q., Verronen, P. T., McCarthy, M. P., et al. (2022). Active precipitation of radiation belt electrons using rocket exhaust driven amplification (REDA) of man-made whistlers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 127, e2022JA030358.

Active precipitation of radiation belt electrons using rocket exhaust driven amplification (REDA) of man-made whistlers

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Author: Bernhardt, P. A.1; Hua, M.2; Bortnik, J.2;
Organizations: 1Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA
2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanography Science, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
3Center for Space Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
4Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Sodankylä, Finland
5Space and Earth Observation Centre, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
6Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
7Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO, USA
8School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
9Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
10British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: American Geophysical Union, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-07


Ground-based very low frequency (VLF) transmitters located around the world generate signals that leak through the bottom side of the ionosphere in the form of whistler mode waves. Wave and particle measurements on satellites have observed that these man-made VLF waves can be strong enough to scatter trapped energetic electrons into low pitch angle orbits, causing loss by absorption in the lower atmosphere. This precipitation loss process is greatly enhanced by intentional amplification of the whistler waves using a newly discovered process called rocket exhaust driven amplification (REDA). Satellite measurements of REDA have shown between 30 and 50 dB intensification of VLF waves in space using a 60 s burn of the 150 g/s thruster on the Cygnus satellite that services the International Space Station. This controlled amplification process is adequate to deplete the energetic particle population on the affected field lines in a few minutes rather than the multi-day period it would take naturally. Numerical simulations of the pitch angle diffusion for radiation belt particles use the UCLA quasi-linear Fokker Planck model to assess the impact of REDA on radiation belt remediation of newly injected energetic electrons. The simulated precipitation fluxes of energetic electrons are applied to models of D-region electron density and bremsstrahlung X-rays for predictions of the modified environment that can be observed with satellite and ground-based sensors.

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Series: Journal of geophysical research. Space physics
ISSN: 2169-9380
ISSN-E: 2169-9402
ISSN-L: 2169-9380
Volume: 127
Issue: 6
Article number: e2022JA030358
DOI: 10.1029/2022ja030358
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: The work at the University of Alaska was supported by NSF Grant 2054361. J. Bortnik and M. Hua gratefully acknowledge support from subgrant 1559841 to the University of California, Los Angeles, from the University of Colorado Boulder under NASA Prime Grant agreement 80NSSC20K1580, and NASA/SWO2R Grant 80NSSC19K0239. Q. Ma would like to acknowledge NASA Grant 80NSSC20K0196. The work of M. Golkowski was supported by NASA Grant 80NSSC19K0264. The work of P. T. Verronen is supported by the Academy of Finland (project No. 335555 ICT-SUNVAC). N. P. Meredith would like to acknowledge funding from Natural Environment Research Council grants NE/P10738X/1 (Rad-Sat), and NE/V00249X/1 (Sat-Risk). The European Space Agency's Third Party Mission Program supports the e-POP instruments on the CASSIOPE/SWARM-E satellite. We acknowledge the Van Allen Probes mission, particularly the RBSPICE team for providing the particle data.
Copyright information: © 2022. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.