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Single ICMEs and Complex Transient Structures in the Solar Wind in 2010 – 2011


We analyze the statistics, solar sources, and properties of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) in the solar wind. The total number of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) registered in the Coordinated Data Analysis Workshops catalog (CDAW) during the first eight years of Cycle 24 was 61% larger than in the same period of Cycle 23, but the number of X-ray flares registered by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) was 20 % smaller because the solar activity was lower. The total number of ICMEs in the given period of Cycle 24 in the Richardson and Cane list was 29% smaller than in Cycle 23, which may be explained by a noticeable number of non-classified ICME-like events in the beginning of Cycle 24. For the period January 2010 – August 2011, we identify solar sources of the ICMEs that are included in the Richardson and Cane list. The solar sources of ICME were determined from coronagraph observations of the Earth-directed CMEs, supplemented by modeling of their propagation in the heliosphere using kinematic models (a ballistic and drag-based model). A detailed analysis of the ICME solar sources in the period under study showed that in 11 cases out of 23 (48%), the observed ICME could be associated with two or more sources. For multiple-source events, the resulting solar wind disturbances can be described as complex (merged) structures that are caused by stream interactions, with properties depending on the type of the participating streams. As a reliable marker to identify interacting streams and their sources, we used the plasma ion composition because it freezes in the low corona and remains unchanged in the heliosphere. According to the ion composition signatures, we classify these cases into three types: complex ejecta originating from weak and strong CME–CME interactions, as well as merged interaction regions (MIRs) originating from the CME high-speed stream (HSS) interactions. We describe temporal profiles of the ion composition for the single-source and multi-source solar wind structures and compared them with the ICME signatures determined from the kinematic and magnetic field parameters of the solar wind. In single-source events, the ion charge state, as a rule, has a one-peak enhancement with an average duration of \(\text{about one}\) day, which is similar to the mean ICME duration of 1.12 days derived from the Richardson and Cane list. In the multi-source events, the total profile of the ion charge state consists of a sequence of enhancements that is associated with the interaction between the participating streams. On average, the total duration of the complex structures that appear as a result of the CME–CME and CME–HSS interactions as determined from their ion composition is 2.4 days, which is more than twice longer than that of the single-source events.

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The authors are grateful to Ian Richardson and Hilary Cane for their list of Near-Earth Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections,Footnote 10 which we used in our investigations. This paper also uses data from the CACTus CME catalog,Footnote 11 generated and maintained by the SIDC at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, and the SEEDS CME catalog.Footnote 12 The SEEDS project has been supported by NASA Living With a Star Program and NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program. We have used the CME catalog that is generated and maintained at the CDAW Data CenterFootnote 13 by NASA and The Catholic University of America in cooperation with the Naval Research Laboratory. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA. The authors thank the STEREO, GOES, SDO/AIA, and ACE research teams for their open data policy. We are grateful for the opportunity to use the results of the simulation obtained by the WSA-Enlil Cone and DBM models.Footnote 14 This work was supported by the Russian Scientific Foundation project 17-12-01567. A.N. Zhukov acknowledges support from the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office through the ESA-PRODEX programme.

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Rodkin, D., Slemzin, V., Zhukov, A.N. et al. Single ICMEs and Complex Transient Structures in the Solar Wind in 2010 – 2011. Sol Phys 293, 78 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-018-1295-4

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  • Solar wind
  • Interplanetary coronal mass ejections
  • Solar corona
  • Coronal mass ejections