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The 2015 Summer Solstice Storm: One of the Major Geomagnetic Storms of Solar Cycle 24 Observed at Ground Level

Abstract

We report on the 22 – 23 June 2015 geomagnetic storm that occurred at the summer solstice. There have been fewer intense geomagnetic storms during the current solar cycle, Solar Cycle 24, than in the previous cycle. This situation changed after mid-June 2015, when one of the largest solar active regions (AR 12371) of Solar Cycle 24 that was located close to the central meridian, produced several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) associated with M-class flares. The impact of these CMEs on the Earth’s magnetosphere resulted in a moderate to severe G4-class geomagnetic storm on 22 – 23 June 2015 and a G2 (moderate) geomagnetic storm on 24 June. The G4 solstice storm was the second largest (so far) geomagnetic storm of Cycle 24. We highlight the ground-level observations made with the New-Tupi, Muonca, and the CARPET El Leoncito cosmic-ray detectors that are located within the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) region. These observations are studied in correlation with data obtained by space-borne detectors (ACE, GOES, SDO, and SOHO) and other ground-based experiments. The CME designations are taken from the Computer Aided CME Tracking (CACTus) automated catalog. As expected, Forbush decreases (FD) associated with the passing CMEs were recorded by these detectors. We note a peculiar feature linked to a severe geomagnetic storm event. The 21 June 2015 CME 0091 (CACTus CME catalog number) was likely associated with the 22 June summer solstice FD event. The angular width of CME 0091 was very narrow and measured \({\sim}\, 56^{\circ }\) degrees seen from Earth. In most cases, only CME halos and partial halos lead to severe geomagnetic storms. We perform a cross-check analysis of the FD events detected during the rise phase of Solar Cycle 24, the geomagnetic parameters, and the CACTus CME catalog. Our study suggests that narrow angular-width CMEs that erupt in a westward direction from the Sun–Earth line can lead to moderate and severe geomagnetic storms. We also report on the strong solar proton radiation storm that began on 21 June. We did not find a signal from this SEP at ground level. The details of these observations are presented.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Cycle 1 started in 1755, when Rudolph Wolf created a standard sunspot number index. Solar maximum and solar minimum refer to periods of maximum and minimum sunspot counts, respectively.

  2. 2.

    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml .

  3. 3.

    During the Maunder Minimum (1645 – 1715), sunspots became exceedingly rare.

  4. 4.

    The estimated 3 h planetary Kp index is derived from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) using data from ground-based magnetometers.

  5. 5.

    https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/auroral-activity/top-50-geomagnetic-storms/solar-cycle/23 .

  6. 6.

    https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/auroral-activity/top-50-geomagnetic-storms/solar-cycle/24 .

  7. 7.

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/noaa-scales-explanation .

  8. 8.

    The June solstice is the shortest day in the southern hemisphere and the longest day in the North.

  9. 9.

    CARPET, El Leoncito, or CARPET (El Leoncito) are used interchangeably hereafter.

  10. 10.

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/kp_3d.html .

  11. 11.

    http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ .

  12. 12.

    http://www2.inpe.br/climaespacial/portal/variacao-de-h/ .

  13. 13.

    http://cdaw.gsfc.nasa.gov .

  14. 14.

    http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/latest_events_archive.html .

  15. 15.

    http://www.tesis.lebedev.ru .

  16. 16.

    http://umtof.umd.edu/pm/FIGS.HTML .

  17. 17.

    http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov .

  18. 18.

    https://geomag.usgs.gov/storm/storm23.php .

  19. 19.

    http://umtof.umd.edu/pm/FIGS.HTML .

  20. 20.

    wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ae_provisional/201506/index_20150622.html .

  21. 21.

    wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ae_provisional/201506/index_20150623.html .

  22. 22.

    wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ae_provisional/201506/index_20150624.html .

  23. 23.

    wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ae_provisional/201506/index_20150625.html .

  24. 24.

    http://cdaw.gsfc.nasa.gov/CME_list .

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Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnolólgico (CNPq, grants 306605/2009-0, 312066/2016-3, 152050/2016-7, 406331/2015-4, 308494/2015-6), Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ, grants 08458.009577/2011-81, E-26/101.649/2011) and also for Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, grants 2011/50193-4, 2011/24117-9). We are grateful to the El Leoncito CARPET detector team for observational data. We express our gratitude to the EMBRACE/INPE team, the ACE/MAG instrument team, the ACE Science Center, the CACTus catalog, the NASA GOES team and the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center ( www.swpc.noaa.gov ), and the NMDB ( www.nmdb.eu ) for valuable information and for real time data. Special thanks are due to the University Oulu station. Finally, we would like to thank the referee for very valuable comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to M. N. de Oliveira.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 2 CME parameters on the basis of CACTus CME catalog. The geomagnetic parameter \(\mathit{Dst}\) shows the minimum detected value. The FD events for the period of 2010 – 2013 are based on our estimates of the Oulu NM data. For these events, the sudden storm commencement (SSC) time ( https://data.noaa.gov/dataset?tags=ssc ) is taken as the FD onset time.

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Augusto, C.R.A., Navia, C.E., de Oliveira, M.N. et al. The 2015 Summer Solstice Storm: One of the Major Geomagnetic Storms of Solar Cycle 24 Observed at Ground Level. Sol Phys 293, 84 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-018-1303-8

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Keywords

  • Sun: activity
  • Astroparticle physics
  • Atmospheric effects
  • Instrumentation: detectors