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A Study of the Earth-Affecting CMEs of Solar Cycle 24

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Using in situ observations from the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), we have identified 70 Earth-affecting interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) in Solar Cycle 24. Because of the unprecedented extent of heliospheric observations in Cycle 24 that has been achieved thanks to the Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation (SECCHI) instruments onboard the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO), we observe these events throughout the heliosphere from the Sun to the Earth, and we can relate these in situ signatures to remote sensing data. This allows us to completely track the event back to the source of the eruption in the low corona. We present a summary of the Earth-affecting CMEs in Solar Cycle 24 and a statistical study of the properties of these events including the source region. We examine the characteristics of CMEs that are more likely to be strongly geoeffective and examine the effect of the flare strength on in situ properties. We find that Earth-affecting CMEs in the first half of Cycle 24 are more likely to come from the northern hemisphere, but after April 2012, this reverses, and these events are more likely to originate in the southern hemisphere, following the observed magnetic asymmetry in the two hemispheres. We also find that as in past solar cycles, CMEs from the western hemisphere are more likely to reach Earth. We find that Cycle 24 lacks in events driving extreme geomagnetic storms compared to past solar cycles.

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We thank the anonymous referee for useful suggestions that improved the quality of this manuscript. This research was performed while Phillip Hess held an NRC Research Associateship award at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. JZ is supported by NSF AGS-1249270 and AGS-1460188. The SECCHI data are produced by an international consortium of NRL, LMSAL, and NASA GSFC (USA), RAL and U. Bham (UK), MPS (Germany), CSL (Belgium), IOTA and IAS (France). The SOHO/LASCO data used here are produced by a consortium of the Naval Research Laboratory (USA), Max-Planck-Institut fuer Sonnensystemforschung (Germany), Laboratoire d’Astronomie (France), and the University of Birmingham (UK). SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA. The AIA data are courtesy of SDO (NASA) and the AIA consortium. The SSN used was obtained from the WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels. Active region and flare information was obtained from NOAA.

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Correspondence to Phillip Hess or Jie Zhang.

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Earth-affecting Solar Transients

Guest Editors: Jie Zhang, Xochitl Blanco-Cano, Nariaki Nitta, and Nandita Srivastava

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Hess, P., Zhang, J. A Study of the Earth-Affecting CMEs of Solar Cycle 24. Sol Phys 292, 80 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-017-1099-y

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  • Space weather
  • Coronal mass ejection
  • Solar wind
  • Heliosphere