Energetic Particles in the Heliosphere: from the Sun to Planetary Atmospheres
Near-Earth Cosmic Ray Decreases Associated with Remote Coronal Mass Ejections
Simon R Thomas
Mathew Owens, Mike Lockwood, Luke Barnard, Chris Scott, Chris Owen
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL
Galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux is modulated by both particle drift patterns and solar wind structures on a range of time scales. Over solar cycles, GCR flux varies as a function of the total open solar magnetic flux and the latitudinal extent of the heliospheric current sheet. Over time-scales of hours, drops of a few percent in near-Earth GCR flux (Forbush decreases, FDs) are well known to be associated with the near-Earth passage of solar wind structures resulting from corotating interaction regions (CIRs) and transient coronal mass ejections (CMEs). We present four FDs seen at ground-based neutron monitors which cannot be immediately associated with significant structures in the local solar wind. Similarly, there are significant near-Earth structures which do not produce any corresponding GCR variation. Three of the FDs are shown to be during the STEREO era, enabling in-situ and remote observations from three well-separated heliospheric locations. Extremely large CMEs passed the STEREO- A spacecraft, which was behind the West limb of the Sun, approximately 2-3 days before each near-Earth FD. Solar wind simulations suggest that the CMEs combined with pre-existing CIRs, enhancing the pre-existing barriers to GCR propagation. These events are compared to the well-documented extreme event of July 2012 as a good comparison. Our observations provide strong evidence for the modulation of GCR flux by remote solar wind structures and a potential to detect these remote structures using neutron monitor data.
16:30 - 18:00