, Volume 286, Issue 2, pp 561-576,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Mar 2013

Temporal Changes in the Rigidity Spectrum of Forbush Decreases Based on Neutron Monitor Data

Abstract

The Forbush decrease (Fd) of the Galactic cosmic ray (GCR) intensity and disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field generally take place simultaneously and are caused by the same phenomenon, namely a coronal mass ejection (CME) or a shock wave created after violent processes in the solar atmosphere. The magnetic cut-off rigidity of the Earth’s magnetic field changes because of the disturbances, leading to additional changes in the GCR intensity observed by neutron monitors and muon telescopes. Therefore, one may expect distortion in the temporal changes in the power-law exponent of the rigidity spectrum calculated from neutron monitor data without correcting for the changes in the cut-off rigidity of the Earth’s magnetic field. We compare temporal changes in the rigidity spectrum of Fds calculated from neutron monitor data corrected and uncorrected for the geomagnetic disturbances. We show some differences in the power-law exponent of the rigidity spectrum of Fds, particularly during large disturbances of the cut-off rigidity of the Earth’s magnetic field. However, the general features of the temporal changes in the rigidity spectrum of Fds remain valid as they were found in our previous study. Namely, at the initial phase of the Fd, the rigidity spectrum is relatively soft and it gradually becomes hard up to the time of the minimum level of the GCR intensity. Then during the recovery phase of the Fd, the rigidity spectrum gradually becomes soft. This confirms that the structural changes of the interplanetary magnetic field turbulence in the range of frequencies of 10−6 – 10−5 Hz are generally responsible for the time variations in the rigidity spectrum we found during the Fds.