Browsing by Subject "MAGNETIC CLOUDS"

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  • Ala-Lahti, Matti; Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Soucek, Jan; Pulkkinen, Tuija; Dimmock, Andrew P. (2019)
    We report on a statistical analysis of the occurrence and properties of Alfven ion cyclotron (AIC) waves in sheath regions driven by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). We have developed an automated algorithm to identify AIC wave events from magnetic field data and apply it to investigate 91 ICME sheath regions recorded by the Wind spacecraft. Our analysis focuses on waves generated by the ion cyclotron instability. AIC waves are observed to be frequent structures in ICME-driven sheaths, and their occurrence is the highest in the vicinity of the shock. Together with previous studies, our results imply that the shock compression has a crucial role in generating wave activity in ICME sheaths. AIC waves tend to have their frequency below the ion cyclotron frequency, and, in general, occur in plasma that is stable with respect to the ion cyclotron instability and has lower ion beta(parallel to) than mirror modes. The results suggest that the ion beta anisotropy beta(perpendicular to)/beta(parallel to) > 1 appearing in ICME sheaths is regulated by both ion cyclotron and mirror instabilities.
  • Scolini, Camilla; Chane, Emmanuel; Temmer, Manuela; Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Dissauer, Karin; Veronig, Astrid M.; Palmerio, Erika; Pomoell, Jens; Dumbovic, Mateja; Guo, Jingnan; Rodriguez, Luciano; Poedts, Stefaan (2020)
    Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the primary sources of intense disturbances at Earth, where their geo-effectiveness is largely determined by their dynamic pressure and internal magnetic field, which can be significantly altered during interactions with other CMEs in interplanetary space. We analyse three successive CMEs that erupted from the Sun during September 4-6, 2017, investigating the role of CME-CME interactions as source of the associated intense geomagnetic storm (Dst(min)=-142 nT on September 7). To quantify the impact of interactions on the (geo-)effectiveness of individual CMEs, we perform global heliospheric simulations with the EUHFORIA model, using observation-based initial parameters with the additional purpose of validating the predictive capabilities of the model for complex CME events. The simulations show that around 0.45 AU, the shock driven by the September 6 CME started compressing a preceding magnetic ejecta formed by the merging of two CMEs launched on September 4, significantly amplifying its B-z until a maximum factor of 2.8 around 0.9 AU. The following gradual conversion of magnetic energy into kinetic and thermal components reduced the B-z amplification until its almost complete disappearance around 1.8 AU. We conclude that a key factor at the origin of the intense storm triggered by the September 4-6, 2017 CMEs was their arrival at Earth during the phase of maximum B-z amplification. Our analysis highlights how the amplification of the magnetic field of individual CMEs in space-time due to interaction processes can be characterised by a growth, a maximum, and a decay phase, suggesting that the time interval between the CME eruptions and their relative speeds are critical factors in determining the resulting impact of complex CMEs at various heliocentric distances (helio-effectiveness).
  • Palmerio, E.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; James, A. W.; Green, L. M.; Pomoell, J.; Isavnin, A.; Valori, G. (2017)
    A key aim in space weather research is to be able to use remote-sensing observations of the solar atmosphere to extend the lead time of predicting the geoeffectiveness of a coronal mass ejection (CME). In order to achieve this, the magnetic structure of the CME as it leaves the Sun must be known. In this article we address this issue by developing a method to determine the intrinsic flux rope type of a CME solely from solar disk observations. We use several well-known proxies for the magnetic helicity sign, the axis orientation, and the axial magnetic field direction to predict the magnetic structure of the interplanetary flux rope. We present two case studies: the 2 June 2011 and the 14 June 2012 CMEs. Both of these events erupted from an active region, and despite having clear in situ counterparts, their eruption characteristics were relatively complex. The first event was associated with an active region filament that erupted in two stages, while for the other event the eruption originated from a relatively high coronal altitude and the source region did not feature a filament. Our magnetic helicity sign proxies include the analysis of magnetic tongues, soft X-ray and/or extreme-ultraviolet sigmoids, coronal arcade skew, filament emission and absorption threads, and filament rotation. Since the inclination of the posteruption arcades was not clear, we use the tilt of the polarity inversion line to determine the flux rope axis orientation and coronal dimmings to determine the flux rope footpoints, and therefore, the direction of the axial magnetic field. The comparison of the estimated intrinsic flux rope structure to in situ observations at the Lagrangian point L1 indicated a good agreement with the predictions. Our results highlight the flux rope type determination techniques that are particularly useful for active region eruptions, where most geoeffective CMEs originate.
  • Kilpua, E. K. J.; Lugaz, N.; Mays, M. L.; Temmer, M. (2019)
    Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are the key drivers of strong to extreme space weather storms at the Earth that can have drastic consequences for technological systems in space and on ground. The ability of a CME to drive geomagnetic disturbances depends crucially on the magnetic structure of the embedded flux rope, which is thus essential to predict. The current capabilities in forecasting in advance (at least half a day before) the geoeffectiveness of a given CME is however severely hampered by the lack of remote-sensing measurements of the magnetic field in the corona and adequate tools to predict how CMEs deform, rotate, and deflect during their travel through the coronal and interplanetary space as they interact with the ambient solar wind and other CMEs. These problems can lead not only to overestimation or underestimation of the severity of a storm, but also to forecasting "misses" and "false alarms" that are particularly difficult for the end-users. In this paper, we discuss the current status and future challenges and prospects related to forecasting of the magnetic structure and orientation of CMEs. We focus both on observational- and modeling-based (first principle and semiempirical) approaches and discuss the space- and ground-based observations that would be the most optimal for making accurate space weather predictions. We also cover the gaps in our current understanding related to the formation and eruption of the CME flux rope and physical processes that govern its evolution in the variable ambient solar wind background that complicate the forecasting. Plain Language Summary Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are gigantic magnetized plasma clouds that are frequently expelled from the Sun. Practically all strong and extreme space weather disturbances in the near-Earth space environment are caused by CMEs that propagate in a few days from the Sun to the Earth. Space weather disturbances are related to various harmful effects to modern technology both in space and on ground which can lead to substantial economic losses. Forecasting the CME properties at least half a day before their impact on Earth is thus essential for our society. Our ability to provide accurate predictions of space weather consequences of CMEs is however currently quite modest. The key challenges are related to observational and modeling limitations, and complex evolution CMEs may experience as they propagate from Sun to Earth. This paper discusses the current status and future prospect in forecasting key CME properties using both observations and simulations.
  • Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Good, Simon W.; Palmerio, Erika; Asvestari, Eleanna; Lumme, Erkka; Ala-Lahti, Matti; Kalliokoski, Milla M. H.; Morosan, Diana E.; Pomoell, Jens; Price, Daniel J.; Magdalenić, Jasmina; Poedts, Stefaan; Futaana, Yoshifumi (2019)
    We report a detailed analysis of interplanetary flux ropes observed at Venus and subsequently at Earth's Lagrange L1 point between June 15 and 17, 2012. The observation points were separated by about 0.28 AU in radial distance and 5 degrees in heliographic longitude at this time. The flux ropes were associated with three coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that erupted from the Sun on June 12-14, 2012 (SOL2012-06-12, SOL2012-06-13, and SOL2012-06-14). We examine the CME-CME interactions using in-situ observations from the almost radially aligned spacecraft at Venus and Earth, as well as using heliospheric modeling and imagery. The June 14 CME reached the June 13 CME near the orbit of Venus and significant interaction occurred before they both reached Earth. The shock driven by the June 14 CME propagated through the June 13 CME and the two CMEs coalesced, creating the signatures of one large, coherent flux rope at L1. We discuss the origin of the strong interplanetary magnetic fields related to this sequence of events, the complexity of interpreting solar wind observations in the case of multiple interacting CMEs, and the coherence of the flux ropes at different observation points.
  • Palmerio, Erika; Scolini, Camilla; Barnes, David; Magdalenic, Jasmina; West, Matthew J.; Zhukov, Andrei N.; Rodriguez, Luciano; Mierla, Marilena; Good, Simon W.; Morosan, Diana E.; Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Pomoell, Jens; Poedts, Stefaan (2019)
    We analyze in this work the propagation and geoeffectiveness of four successive coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that erupted from the Sun during 2013 May 21-23 and were detected in interplanetary space by the Wind and/or STEREO-A spacecraft. All these CMEs featured critical aspects for understanding so-called "problem space weather storms" at Earth. In the first three events a limb CMEs resulted in moderately geoeffective in situ structures at their target location in terms of the disturbance storm time (Dst) index (either measured or estimated). The fourth CME, which also caused a moderate geomagnetic response, erupted from close to the disk center as seen from Earth, but it was not visible in coronagraph images from the spacecraft along the Sun-Earth line and appeared narrow and faint from off-angle viewpoints. Making the correct connection between CMEs at the Sun and their in situ counterparts is often difficult for problem storms. We investigate these four CMEs using multiwavelength and multipoint remote-sensing observations (extreme ultraviolet, white light, and radio), aided by 3D heliospheric modeling, in order to follow their propagation in the corona and in interplanetary space and to assess their impact at 1 au. Finally, we emphasize the difficulties in forecasting moderate space weather effects that are provoked by problematic and ambiguous events and the importance of multispacecraft data for observing and modeling problem storms.
  • Kilpua, E. K. J.; Fontaine, D.; Moissard, C.; Ala-Lahti, M.; Palmerio, E.; Yordanova, E.; Good, S. W.; Lumme, E.; Osmane, A.; Palmroth, M.; Turc, L.; Kalliokoski, Milla (2019)
    We present a statistical study of interplanetary conditions and geospace response to 89 coronal mass ejection-driven sheaths observed during Solar Cycles 23 and 24. We investigate in particular the dependencies on the driver properties and variations across the sheath. We find that the ejecta speed principally controls the sheath geoeffectiveness and shows the highest correlations with sheath parameters, in particular in the region closest to the shock. Sheaths of fast ejecta have on average high solar wind speeds, magnetic (B) field magnitudes, and fluctuations, and they generate efficiently strong out-of-ecliptic fields. Slow-ejecta sheaths are considerably slower and have weaker fields and field fluctuations, and therefore they cause primarily moderate geospace activity. Sheaths of weak and strong B field ejecta have distinct properties, but differences in their geoeffectiveness are less drastic. Sheaths of fast and strong ejecta push the subsolar magnetopause significantly earthward, often even beyond geostationary orbit. Slow-ejecta sheaths also compress the magnetopause significantly due to their large densities that are likely a result of their relatively long propagation times and source near the streamer belt. We find the regions near the shock and ejecta leading edge to be the most geoeffective parts of the sheath. These regions are also associated with the largest B field magnitudes, out-of-ecliptic fields, and field fluctuations as well as largest speeds and densities. The variations, however, depend on driver properties. Forecasting sheath properties is challenging due to their variable nature, but the dependence on ejecta properties determined in this work could help to estimate sheath geoeffectiveness through remote-sensing coronal mass ejection observations.
  • Verbeke, C.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Aims. We introduce a new model for coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that has been implemented in the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) inner heliosphere model EUHFORIA. Utilising a linear force-free spheromak (LFFS) solution, the model provides an intrinsic magnetic field structure for the CME. As a result, the new model has the potential to predict the magnetic components of CMEs at Earth. In this paper, we present the implementation of the new model and show the capability of the new model. Methods. We present initial validation runs for the new magnetised CME model by considering the same set of events as used in the initial validation run of EUHFORIA that employed the Cone model. In particular, we have focused on modelling the CME that was responsible for creating the largest geomagnetic disturbance (Dst index). Two scenarios are discussed: one where a single magnetised CME is launched and another in which we launch all five Earth-directed CMEs that were observed during the considered time period. Four out of the five CMEs were modelled using the Cone model. Results. In the first run, where the propagation of a single magnetized CME is considered, we find that the magnetic field components at Earth are well reproduced as compared to in-situ spacecraft data. Considering a virtual spacecraft that is separated approximately seven heliographic degrees from the position of Earth, we note that the centre of the magnetic cloud is missing Earth and a considerably larger magnetic field strength can be found when shifting to that location. For the second run, launching four Cone CMEs and one LFFS CME, we notice that the simulated magnetised CME is arriving at the same time as in the corresponding full Cone model run. We find that to achieve this, the speed of the CME needs to be reduced in order to compensate for the expansion of the CME due to the addition of the magnetic field inside the CME. The reduced initial speed of the CME and the added magnetic field structure give rise to a very similar propagation of the CME with approximately the same arrival time at 1 au. In contrast to the Cone model, however, the magnetised CME is able to predict the magnetic field components at Earth. However, due to the interaction between the Cone model CMEs and the magnetised CME, the magnetic field amplitude is significantly lower than for the run using a single magnetised CME. Conclusions. We have presented the LFFS model that is able to simulate and predict the magnetic field components and the propagation of magnetised CMEs in the inner heliosphere and at Earth. We note that shifting towards a virtual spacecraft in the neighbourhood of Earth can give rise to much stronger magnetic field components. This gives the option of adding a grid of virtual spacecrafts to give a range of values for the magnetic field components.
  • Nitta, Nariaki; Mulligan, Tamitha; Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Lynch, Benjamin J.; Mierla, Marilena; O'Kane, Jennifer; Pagano, Paolo; Palmerio, Erika; Pomoell, Jens; Richardson, Ian R.; Rodriguez, Luciano; Rouillard, Alexis P.; Sinha, Suvadip; Srivastava, Nandita; Talpeanu, Dana-Camelia; Yardley, Stephanie L.; Zhukov, Andrei N. (2021)
    Geomagnetic storms are an important aspect of space weather and can result in significant impacts on space- and ground-based assets. The majority of strong storms are associated with the passage of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) in the near-Earth environment. In many cases, these ICMEs can be traced back unambiguously to a specific coronal mass ejection (CME) and solar activity on the frontside of the Sun. Hence, predicting the arrival of ICMEs at Earth from routine observations of CMEs and solar activity currently makes a major contribution to the forecasting of geomagnetic storms. However, it is clear that some ICMEs, which may also cause enhanced geomagnetic activity, cannot be traced back to an observed CME, or, if the CME is identified, its origin may be elusive or ambiguous in coronal images. Such CMEs have been termed "stealth CMEs". In this review, we focus on these "problem" geomagnetic storms in the sense that the solar/CME precursors are enigmatic and stealthy. We start by reviewing evidence for stealth CMEs discussed in past studies. We then identify several moderate to strong geomagnetic storms (minimum Dst < -50 nT) in solar cycle 24 for which the related solar sources and/or CMEs are unclear and apparently stealthy. We discuss the solar and in situ circumstances of these events and identify several scenarios that may account for their elusive solar signatures. These range from observational limitations (e.g., a coronagraph near Earth may not detect an incoming CME if it is diffuse and not wide enough) to the possibility that there is a class of mass ejections from the Sun that have only weak or hard-to-observe coronal signatures. In particular, some of these sources are only clearly revealed by considering the evolution of coronal structures over longer time intervals than is usually considered. We also review a variety of numerical modelling approaches that attempt to advance our understanding of the origins and consequences of stealthy solar eruptions with geoeffective potential. Specifically, we discuss magnetofrictional modelling of the energisation of stealth CME source regions and magnetohydrodynamic modelling of the physical processes that generate stealth CME or CME-like eruptions, typically from higher altitudes in the solar corona than CMEs from active regions or extended filament channels.