Browsing by Subject "coronal mass ejections"

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  • Palmerio, E.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; Möstl, C.; Bothmer, V.; James, A. W.; Green, L. M.; Isavnin, A.; Davies, J. A.; Harrison, R. A. (2018)
    Predicting the magnetic field within an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) well before its arrival at Earth is one of the most important issues in space weather research. In this article, we compare the intrinsic flux rope type, that is, the CME orientation and handedness during eruption, with the in situ flux rope type for 20 CME events that have been uniquely linked from Sun to Earth through heliospheric imaging. Our study shows that the intrinsic flux rope type can be estimated for CMEs originating from different source regions using a combination of indirect proxies. We find that only 20% of the events studied match strictly between the intrinsic and in situ flux rope types. The percentage rises to 55% when intermediate cases (where the orientation at the Sun and/or in situ is close to 45 degrees) are considered as a match. We also determine the change in the flux rope tilt angle between the Sun and Earth. For the majority of the cases, the rotation is several tens of degrees, while 35% of the events change by more than 90 degrees. While occasionally the intrinsic flux rope type is a good proxy for the magnetic structure impacting Earth, our study highlights the importance of capturing the CME evolution for space weather forecasting purposes. Moreover, we emphasize that determination of the intrinsic flux rope type is a crucial input for CME forecasting models. Plain Language Summary Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are huge eruptions from the Sun that can cause myriad of space weather effects at Earth. The ability of a CME to drive a geomagnetic storm is given largely by how its magnetic field is configured. Predicting the magnetic structure well before CME arrival at Earth is one of the major goals in space weather forecasting. Palmerio et al. (2018) study 20 CMEs observed both at the Sun and at Earth. They use observations of the solar disc to determine the magnetic structure at the Sun and then compare it with the magnetic structure estimated via magnetic field measurements near Earth. They report that the magnetic structures match closely only in 20% of the events studied. They also estimate the orientations of the CME axes at the Sun and at Earth. They find that 65% of the events change their orientations by less than 90 degrees. They conclude that knowledge of the CME magnetic structure at the Sun is an important factor in space weather forecasting, but the CME evolution after eruption has to be taken into account in order to improve current predictions.
  • Pomoell, Jens; Poedts, Stefaan (2018)
    The implementation and first results of the new space weather forecasting-targeted inner heliosphere model "European heliospheric forecasting information asset" (EUHFORIA) are presented. EUHFORIA consists of two major components: a coronal model and a heliosphere model including coronal mass ejections. The coronal model provides data-driven solar wind plasma parameters at 0.1AU by constructing a model of the coronal large-scale magnetic field and employing empirical relations to determine the plasma state such as the solar wind speed and mass density. These are then used as boundary conditions to drive a three-dimensional time-dependent magnetohydrodynamics model of the inner heliosphere up to 2 AU. CMEs are injected into the ambient solar wind modeled using the cone model, with their parameters obtained from fits to imaging observations. In addition to detailing the modeling methodology, an initial validation run is presented. The results feature a highly dynamic heliosphere that the model is able to capture in good agreement with in situ observations. Finally, future horizons for the model are outlined.
  • Moestl, C.; Amerstorfer, T.; Palmerio, E.; Isavnin, A.; Farrugia, C. J.; Lowder, C.; Winslow, R. M.; Donnerer, J. M.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; Boakes, P. D. (2018)
    Forecasting the geomagnetic effects of solar storms, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), is currently severely limited by our inability to predict the magnetic field configuration in the CME magnetic core and by observational effects of a single spacecraft trajectory through its 3-D structure. CME magnetic flux ropes can lead to continuous forcing of the energy input to the Earth's magnetosphere by strong and steady southward-pointing magnetic fields. Here we demonstrate in a proof-of-concept way a new approach to predict the southward field B-z in a CME flux rope. It combines a novel semiempirical model of CME flux rope magnetic fields (Three-Dimensional Coronal ROpe Ejection) with solar observations and in situ magnetic field data from along the Sun-Earth line. These are provided here by the MESSENGER spacecraft for a CME event on 9-13 July 2013. Three-Dimensional Coronal ROpe Ejection is the first such model that contains the interplanetary propagation and evolution of a 3-D flux rope magnetic field, the observation by a synthetic spacecraft, and the prediction of an index of geomagnetic activity. A counterclockwise rotation of the left-handed erupting CME flux rope in the corona of 30 degrees and a deflection angle of 20 degrees is evident from comparison of solar and coronal observations. The calculated Dst matches reasonably the observed Dst minimum and its time evolution, but the results are highly sensitive to the CME axis orientation. We discuss assumptions and limitations of the method prototype and its potential for real time space weather forecasting and heliospheric data interpretation.
  • Janvier, Miho; Winslow, Reka; Good, Simon; Bonhomme, Elise; Démoulin, Pascal; Dasso, Sergio; Möstl, Christian; Lugaz, Noé; Amerstorfer, Tanja; Soubrié, Elie; Boakes, Peter D. (2019)
    We study interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) measured by probes at different heliocentric distances (0.3-1 AU) to investigate the propagation of ICMEs in the inner heliosphere and determine how the generic features of ICMEs change with heliospheric distance. Using data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER), Venus Express and ACE spacecraft, we analyze with the superposed epoch technique the profiles of ICME substructures, namely, the sheath and the magnetic ejecta. We determine that the median magnetic field magnitude in the sheath correlates well with ICME speeds at 1 AU, and we use this proxy to order the ICMEs at all spacecraft. We then investigate the typical ICME profiles for three categories equivalent to slow, intermediate, and fast ICMEs. Contrary to fast ICMEs, slow ICMEs have a weaker solar wind field at the front and a more symmetric magnetic field profile. We find the asymmetry to be less pronounced at Earth than at Mercury, indicating a relaxation taking place as ICMEs propagate. We also find that the magnetic field intensities in the wake region of the ICMEs do not go back to the pre-ICME solar wind intensities, suggesting that the effects of ICMEs on the ambient solar wind last longer than the duration of the transient event. Such results provide an indication of physical processes that need to be reproduced by numerical simulations of ICME propagation. The samples studied here will be greatly improved by future missions dedicated to the exploration of the inner heliosphere, such as Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter.
  • Scolini, C.; Chané, E.; Pomoell, J.; Rodriguez, L.; Poedts, S. (2020)
    Predictions of the impact of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in the heliosphere mostly rely on cone CME models, whose performances are optimized for locations in the ecliptic plane and at 1 AU (e.g., at Earth). Progresses in the exploration of the inner heliosphere, however, advocate the need to assess their performances at both higher latitudes and smaller heliocentric distances. In this work, we perform 3-D magnetohydrodynamics simulations of artificial cone CMEs using the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUHFORIA), investigating the performances of cone models in the case of CMEs launched at high latitudes. We compare results obtained initializing CMEs using a commonly applied approximated (Euclidean) distance relation and using a proper (great circle) distance relation. Results show that initializing high-latitude CMEs using the Euclidean approximation results in a teardrop-shaped CME cross section at the model inner boundary that fails in reproducing the initial shape of high-latitude cone CMEs as a circular cross section. Modeling errors arising from the use of an inappropriate distance relation at the inner boundary eventually propagate to the heliospheric domain. Errors are most prominent in simulations of high-latitude CMEs and at the location of spacecraft at high latitudes and/or small distances from the Sun, with locations impacted by the CME flanks being the most error sensitive. This work shows that the low-latitude approximations commonly employed in cone models, if not corrected, may significantly affect CME predictions at various locations compatible with the orbit of space missions such as Parker Solar Probe, Ulysses, and Solar Orbiter.
  • Palmerio, Erika; Nieves-Chinchilla, Teresa; Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Barnes, David; Zhukov, Andrei N.; Jian, Lan K.; Witasse, Olivier; Provan, Gabrielle; Tao, Chihiro; Lamy, Laurent; Bradley, Thomas J.; Mays, M. Leila; Moestl, Christian; Roussos, Elias; Futaana, Yoshifumi; Masters, Adam; Sanchez-Cano, Beatriz (2021)
    One of the grand challenges in heliophysics is the characterization of coronal mass ejection (CME) magnetic structure and evolution from eruption at the Sun through heliospheric propagation. At present, the main difficulties are related to the lack of direct measurements of the coronal magnetic fields and the lack of 3D in-situ measurements of the CME body in interplanetary space. Nevertheless, the evolution of a CME magnetic structure can be followed using a combination of multi-point remote-sensing observations and multi-spacecraft in-situ measurements as well as modeling. Accordingly, we present in this work the analysis of two CMEs that erupted from the Sun on April 28, 2012. We follow their eruption and early evolution using remote-sensing data, finding indications of CME-CME interaction, and then analyze their interplanetary counterpart(s) using in-situ measurements at Venus, Earth, and Saturn. We observe a seemingly single flux rope at all locations, but find possible signatures of interaction at Earth, where high-cadence plasma data are available. Reconstructions of the in-situ flux ropes provide almost identical results at Venus and Earth but show greater discrepancies at Saturn, suggesting that the CME was highly distorted and/or that further interaction with nearby solar wind structures took place before 10 AU. This work highlights the difficulties in connecting structures from the Sun to the outer heliosphere and demonstrates the importance of multi-spacecraft studies to achieve a deeper understanding of the magnetic configuration of CMEs.
  • Good, S.W.; Kilpua, E.K.J.; LaMoury, A.T.; Forsyth, R.J.; Eastwood, J.P.; Möstl, C. (2019)
    Abstract Interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) are a significant feature of the heliospheric environment and the primary cause of adverse space weather at the Earth. ICME propagation, and the evolution of ICME magnetic field structure during propagation, are still not fully understood. We analyze the magnetic field structures of 18 ICME magnetic flux ropes observed by radially aligned spacecraft in the inner heliosphere. Similarity in the underlying flux rope structures is determined through the application of a simple technique that maps the magnetic field profile from one spacecraft to the other. In many cases, the flux ropes show very strong underlying similarities at the different spacecraft. The mapping technique reveals similarities that are not readily apparent in the unmapped data and is a useful tool when determining whether magnetic field time series observed at different spacecraft are associated with the same ICME. Lundquist fitting has been applied to the flux ropes and the rope orientations have been determined; macroscale differences in the profiles at the aligned spacecraft may be ascribed to differences in flux rope orientation. Assuming that the same region of the ICME was observed by the aligned spacecraft in each case, the fitting indicates some weak tendency for the rope axes to reduce in inclination relative to the solar equatorial plane and to align with the solar east-west direction with heliocentric distance.
  • 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.
  • Kilpua, Emilia; Good, Simon; Ala-Lahti, Matti; Osmane, Adnane; Fontaine, D.; Hadid, L.; Janvier, M.; Yordanova, E. (2021)
    We report a statistical analysis of magnetic field fluctuations in 79 coronal mass ejection(CME-) driven sheath regions that were observed in the near-Earth solar wind. Wind highresolution magnetic field data were used to investigate 2 h regions adjacent to the shock and ejecta leading edge (Near-Shock and Near-LE regions, respectively), and the results were compared with a 2 h region upstreamof the shock. The inertial-range spectral indices in the sheaths are found to be mostly steeper than the Kolmogorov -5/3 index and steeper than in the solar wind ahead. We did not find indications of an f(-1) spectrum, implying that magnetic fluctuation properties in CME sheaths differ significantly from planetary magnetosheaths and that CME-driven shocks do not reset the solar wind turbulence, as appears to happen downstream of planetary bow shocks. However, our study suggests that new compressible fluctuations are generated in the sheath for a wide variety of shock/upstream conditions. Fluctuation properties particularly differed between the Near-Shock region and the solar wind ahead. A strong positive correlation in the mean magnetic compressibility was found between the upstream and downstream regions, but the compressibility values in the sheaths were similar to those in the slow solar wind (