Journal Highlights

Making the case for more sophisticated approaches to modeling radiation belts

Editor’s Highlight—

 

Modeling the radiation belts is often done with a simplified model for the plasma waves, those oscillations in the electric and magnetic field in near-Earth space that can scatter the relativistic (i.e., really fast) charged particles of the radiation belts, breaking their “trapped” nature and causing them to leave the belt. This commentary makes the case that the simplified “wave-particle interaction” approach leads to big errors and argues for more sophisticated approaches to this modeling task.