Solar Physics

, Volume 290, Issue 2, pp 613–626 | Cite as

An Interpretation of a Possible Mechanism for the First Ground-Level Enhancement of Solar Cycle 24

  • K. A. FirozEmail author
  • W. Q. Gan
  • Y. P. Li
  • J. Rodríguez-Pacheco


It is well known that solar flares and shocks driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are high-energy particle acceleration processes that might cause a high-energy particle event known as a ground-level enhancement (GLE). In this context, we have attempted to understand the processes responsible for the first GLE event (GLE71 17 May 2012 01:50 UT) of Solar Cycle 24. We studied the spatial and spectral data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) the Culgoora radio-heliograph, and Wind/WAVES instrument, and analyzed the temporal data of the solar-flare components, the solar radio-flux density, and the electron fluxes from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), the Radio Solar Telescope Network (RSTN), and Wind spacecraft. The flare had two ribbons separated by the neutral line between negative and positive magnetic polarity. Their structure was also almost consistent with the contours of some flare components, which were almost saturated during the flare-peak time. As indicated by the metric–kilometric Type-II burst, and because it extended over a wide heliolongitude (> ≈ 41) range, the CME-driven shock was fast enough to cause high-energy particle acceleration at a high altitude in the solar corona. Moreover, the CME and flare-flash phases were aligned along the same direction, which implies that if the CME-driven shock played the leading role in causing the GLE, preceding flare components may have contributed to the shock.


Cosmic rays Ground level enhancement Solar flare CME-driven shock Solar radio burst Magnetic topology Solar corona Solar radio flux density 



We are grateful to the anonymous referee for the constructive comments and valuable suggestions that greatly helped us to improve the manuscript. We used NM data from NMDB funded by European Union’s FP7 program (contract No. 213007). To study possible causes of GLEs, data provided by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), NASA’s Wind/WAVES, and RHESSI have been used. We acknowledge discussions with David J. Thompson (NASA), Y.-J. Moon (KHU), Z. Ning (PMO/CAS), Q.M. Zhang (PMO/CAS), and R. Gómez-Herrero (EPD/ESA). WQG acknowledges the projects of MSTC (2011CB811402) and NNSFC (11233008 and 11427803). JRP acknowledges the projects of Solar Orbiter-Energetic Particle Detector (EPD): Ciencia y Gestión de Sistemas (AYA2012-39810-C02-01) funded by the Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, the Solar Orbiter Energetic Particle Detector System Management (AYA2011-29727-C02-01), and DETECTOR DE PARTÍCULAS ENERGÉTICAS PARA SOLAR ORBITER II (ESP2013-48346-C2-1-R). We have used data provided by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), NASA’s Wind/WAVES, SDO, RHESSI missions, and the ESA/NASA SOHO mission. SOHO is a mission of international cooperation between ESA and NASA. The SDO/HMI and EVE data are available by courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA and EVE science teams.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Firoz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • W. Q. Gan
    • 2
  • Y. P. Li
    • 2
  • J. Rodríguez-Pacheco
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Research GroupAlcalá UniversityAlcalá de HenaresSpain
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Dark Matter and Space Astronomy, Purple Mountain ObservatoryChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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