Date: Friday, May 23, 1997
Special University Ph.D. Oral Examination
Time: 12:00 pm (Refreshments at 11:45 pm)
Location: Durand 450
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Precipitation of Radiation Belt Electrons by Obliquely-Propagating Lightning-Generated Whistler Waves
Department of Electrical Engineering
Every lightning discharge radiates brief, intense electromagnetic fields which may penetrate the lower ionosphere and couple to the whistler
mode in the magnetosphere. As these circularly polarized waves traverse the magnetosphere they interact with gyrating trapped electrons,
causing a percentage to be scattered and precipitated onto the upper atmosphere.
In this new formulation we consider the case of general whistler wave propagation in a smoothly-varying magnetosphere where the ray paths are
not necessarily (Earth magnetic) field aligned, and where the wavenormal angle (k-vector) may take on any allowed value for the anisotropic
We present quantitative calculations of transient electron fluxes resulting from individual lightning flashes, and highlight a case where a single
discharge can cause a precipitation flux of E>100 keV electrons exceeding 10 milli-ergs/cm^2/s for up to 1 second, deposited over a spatial
region roughly 6 x 10 degrees centered some 14 degrees poleward of the source.