Browsing by Subject "solar-terrestrial relations"

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  • Rollett, T.; Moestl, C.; Isavnin, A.; Davies, J. A.; Kubicka, M.; Amerstorfer, U. V.; Harrison, R. A. (2016)
    In this study, we present a new method for forecasting arrival times and speeds of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) at any location in the inner heliosphere. This new approach enables the adoption of a highly flexible geometrical shape for the CME front with an adjustable CME angular width and an adjustable radius of curvature of its leading edge, i.e., the assumed geometry is elliptical. Using, as input, Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) heliospheric imager (HI) observations, a new elliptic conversion (ElCon) method is introduced and combined with the use of drag-based model (DBM) fitting to quantify the deceleration or acceleration experienced by CMEs during propagation. The result is then used as input for the Ellipse Evolution Model (ElEvo). Together, ElCon, DBM fitting, and ElEvo form the novel ElEvoHI forecasting utility. To demonstrate the applicability of ElEvoHI, we forecast the arrival times and speeds of 21 CMEs remotely observed from STEREO/HI and compare them to in situ arrival times and speeds at 1 AU. Compared to the commonly used STEREO/HI fitting techniques (Fixed-phi, Harmonic Mean, and Self-similar Expansion fitting), ElEvoHI improves the arrival time forecast by about 2 to +/- 6.5 hr and the arrival speed forecast by approximate to 250 to +/- 53 km s(-1), depending on the ellipse aspect ratio assumed. In particular, the remarkable improvement of the arrival speed prediction is potentially beneficial for predicting geomagnetic storm strength at Earth.
  • 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.
  • Scolini, C.; Rodriguez, L.; Mierla, M.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Context. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the primary source of strong space weather disturbances at Earth. Their geo-effectiveness is largely determined by their dynamic pressure and internal magnetic fields, for which reliable predictions at Earth are not possible with traditional cone CME models. Aims. We study two well-observed Earth-directed CMEs using the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUH-FORIA) model, testing for the first time the predictive capabilities of a linear force-free spheromak CME model initialised using parameters derived from remote-sensing observations. Methods. Using observation-based CME input parameters, we performed magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the events with EU-HFORIA, using the cone and spheromak CME models. Results. Simulations show that spheromak CMEs propagate faster than cone CMEs when initialised with the same kinematic parameters. We interpret these differences as the result of different Lorentz forces acting within cone and spheromak CMEs, which lead to different CME expansions in the heliosphere. Such discrepancies can be mitigated by initialising spheromak CMEs with a reduced speed corresponding to the radial speed only. Results at Earth provide evidence that the spheromak model improves the predictions of B (B-z) by up to 12-60 (22-40) percentage points compared to a cone model. Considering virtual spacecraft located within +/- 10 degrees around Earth, B (Bz) predictions reach 45-70% (58-78%) of the observed peak values. The spheromak model shows inaccurate predictions of the magnetic field parameters at Earth for CMEs propagating away from the Sun-Earth line. Conclusions. The spheromak model successfully predicts the CME properties and arrival time in the case of strictly Earth-directed events, while modelling CMEs propagating away from the Sun-Earth line requires extra care due to limitations related to the assumed spherical shape. The spatial variability of modelling results and the typical uncertainties in the reconstructed CME direction advocate the need to consider predictions at Earth and at virtual spacecraft located around it.
  • Usoskin, Dmitry; Koldobskiy, S.; Kovaltsov, G. A.; Gil, A.; Usoskina,; Willamo, T.; Ibragimov, A. (2020)
    Aims. Continuous measurements of ground-based neutron monitors (NMs) form the main data source for studying high-energy high-intensity solar energetic particle (SEP) events that are called ground-level enhancements (GLEs). All available data are collected in the International GLE Database (IGLED), which provides formal NM count-rate increases above the constant pre-increase level which is due to galactic cosmic rays (GCR). This data set is used to reconstruct the energy spectra of GLE events. However, the assumption of a constant GCR background level throughout GLE events is often invalid. Here we thoroughly revise the IGLED and provide a data set of detrended NM count-rate increases that accounts for the variable GCR background. Methods. The formal GLE count-rate increases were corrected for the variable GCR background, which may vary significantly during GLE events. The corresponding integral omnidirectional fluences of SEPs were reconstructed for all GLEs with sufficient strength from the detrended data using the effective rigidity method. Results. The database of the detrended NM count rate is revised for GLE events since 1956. Integral omnidirectional fluences were estimated for 58 GLE events and parametrised for 52 sufficiently strong events using the modified Ellison-Ramaty spectral shape. Conclusions. The IGLED was revised to account for the variable GCR background. Integral omnidirectional fluences reconstructed for most of GLE events were added to IGLED. This forms the basis for more precise studies of parameters of SEP events and thus for solar and space physics.
  • Kilpua, E. K. J.; Olspert, N.; Grigorievskiy, A.; Kapyla, M. J.; Tanskanen, E. I.; Miyahara, H.; Kataoka, R.; Pelt, J.; Liu, Y. D. (2015)
    We study the relation between strong and extreme geomagnetic storms and solar cycle characteristics. The analysis uses an extensive geomagnetic index AA data set spanning over 150 yr. complemented by the Kakioka magnetometer recordings. We apply Pearson correlation statistics and estimate the significance of the correlation with a bootstrapping technique. We show that the correlation between the storm occurrence and the strength of the solar cycle decreases from a clear positive correlation with increasing storm magnitude toward a negligible relationship. Hence, the quieter Sun can also launch superstorms that may lead to significant societal and economic impact. Our results show that while weaker storms occur most frequently in the declining phase, the stronger storms have the tendency to occur near solar maximum. Our analysis suggests that the most extreme solar eruptions do not have a direct connection between the solar large-scale dynamo-generated magnetic field, but are rather associated with smaller-scale dynamo and resulting turbulent magnetic fields. The phase distributions of sunspots and storms becoming increasingly in phase with increasing storm strength, on the other hand, may indicate that the extreme storms are related to the toroidal component of the solar large-scale field.
  • 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.
  • Pal, Sanchita; Kilpua, Emilia; Good, Simon; Pomoell, Jens; Price, Daniel (2021)
    Context. Magnetic clouds (MCs) are transient structures containing large-scale magnetic flux ropes from solar eruptions. The twist of magnetic field lines around the rope axis reveals information about flux rope formation processes and geoeffectivity. During propagation MC flux ropes may erode via reconnection with the ambient solar wind. Any erosion reduces the magnetic flux and helicity of the ropes, and changes their cross-sectional twist profiles. Aims. This study relates twist profiles in MC flux ropes observed at 1 AU to the amount of erosion undergone by the MCs in interplanetary space. Methods. The twist profiles of two clearly identified MC flux ropes associated with the clear appearance of post eruption arcades in the solar corona are analyzed. To infer the amount of erosion, the magnetic flux content of the ropes in the solar atmosphere is estimated, and compared to estimates at 1 AU. Results. The first MC shows a monotonically decreasing twist from the axis to the periphery, while the second displays high twist at the axis, rising twist near the edges, and lower twist in between. The first MC displays a larger reduction in magnetic flux between the Sun and 1 AU, suggesting more erosion than that seen in the second MC. Conclusions. In the second cloud the rising twist at the rope edges may have been due to an envelope of overlying coronal field lines with relatively high twist, formed by reconnection beneath the erupting flux rope in the low corona. This high-twist envelope remained almost intact from the Sun to 1 AU due to the low erosion levels. In contrast, the high-twist envelope of the first cloud may have been entirely peeled away via erosion by the time it reaches 1 AU.