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Creators/Authors contains: "Kilpua, Emilia K. J."

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  1. Abstract

    The radial evolution of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) is dependent on their interaction with the ambient medium, which causes ICME erosion and affects their geoefficiency. Here, an ICME front boundary, which separates the confined ejecta from the mixed, interacted sheath–ejecta plasma upstream, is analyzed in a multipoint study examining the ICME at 1 au on 2020 April 20. A bifurcated current sheet, highly filamented currents, and a two-sided jet were observed at the boundary. The two-sided jet, which was recorded for the first time for a magnetic shear angle <40°, implies multiple (patchy) reconnection sites associated with the ICME erosion. The reconnection exhaust exhibited fine structure, including multistep magnetic field rotation and localized structures that were measured only by separate Cluster spacecraft with the mission inter-spacecraft separation of 0.4–1.6RE. The mixed plasma upstream of the boundary with a precursor at 0.8 au lacked coherency at 1 au and exhibited substantial variations of southward magnetic fields over radial (transverse) distances of 41–237RE(114RE). This incoherence demonstrates the need for continuous (sub)second-resolution plasma and field measurements at multiple locations in the solar wind to adequately address the spatiotemporal structure of ICMEs and to produce accurate space weather predictions.

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  2. Abstract

    We present observations and modeling results of the propagation and impact at Earth of a high-latitude, extended filament channel eruption that commenced on 2015 July 9. The coronal mass ejection (CME) that resulted from the filament eruption was associated with a moderate disturbance at Earth. This event could be classified as a so-called “problem storm” because it lacked the usual solar signatures that are characteristic of large, energetic, Earth-directed CMEs that often result in significant geoeffective impacts. We use solar observations to constrain the initial parameters and therefore to model the propagation of the 2015 July 9 eruption from the solar corona up to Earth using 3D magnetohydrodynamic heliospheric simulations with three different configurations of the modeled CME. We find the best match between observed and modeled arrival at Earth for the simulation run that features a toroidal flux rope structure of the CME ejecta, but caution that different approaches may be more or less useful depending on the CME–observer geometry when evaluating the space weather impact of eruptions that are extreme in terms of their large size and high degree of asymmetry. We discuss our results in the context of both advancing our understanding of the physics of CME evolution and future improvements to space weather forecasting.

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  3. Abstract

    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$< -50$<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.

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  4. Abstract

    The transmission of a sheath region driven by an interplanetary coronal mass ejection into the Earth's magnetosheath is studied by investigating in situ magnetic field measurements upstream and downstream of the bow shock during an ICME sheath passage on 15 May 2005. We observe three distinct intervals in the immediate upstream region that included a southward magnetic field component and are traveling foreshocks. These traveling foreshocks were observed in the quasi‐parallel bow shock that hosted backstreaming ions and magnetic fluctuations at ultralow frequencies. The intervals constituting traveling foreshocks in the upstream survive transmission to the Earth's magnetosheath, where their magnetic field, and particularly the southward component, was significantly amplified. Our results further suggest that the magnetic field fluctuations embedded in an ICME sheath may survive the transmission if their frequency is below ∼0.01 Hz. Although one of the identified intervals was coherent, extending across the ICME sheath and being long‐lived, predicting ICME sheath magnetic fields that may transmit to the Earth's magnetosheath from the upstream at L1 observations has ambiguity. This can result from the strong spatial variability of the ICME sheath fields in the longitudinal direction, or alternatively from the ICME sheath fields developing substantially within the short time it takes the plasma to propagate from L1 to the bow shock. This study demonstrates the complex interplay ICME sheaths have with the Earth's magnetosphere when passing by the planet.

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