Space Science & Space Physics Editors' Highlights

Energetic Electrons Can Penetrate the Stratosphere

Precipitations of electrons with energies greater than 30 kiloelectron volts from the slot region penetrate at low altitude and can contribute to destroy ozone.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics


Precipitations of energetic electrons from the radiation belts influence the Earth’s atmosphere. Using polar satellites and a ground-based radar in Antarctica, Kavanagh et al. [2018] show that electrons with energies of more than 30 kiloelectron volts penetrate the slot region even under modest geomagnetic activity. The precipitation lasts 10 days on average and penetrates to the stratopause (55 kilometers altitude). Such energetic electrons likely contribute to the destruction of ozone at such low altitudes and cause changes in the atmospheric chemistry to be taken into account in models.

Citation: Kavanagh, A. J., Cobbett, N., & Kirsch, P. [2018]. Radiation Belt slot region filling events: Sustained energetic precipitation into the mesosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 123.

—Viviane Pierrard, Editor, JGR: Space Physics

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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