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Exploring the potential of microwave diagnostics in SEP forecasting: The occurrence of SEP events  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2017-06-03 01:59

Solar energetic particles (SEPs), especially protons and heavy ions, may be a space-weather hazard when they impact spacecraft and the terrestrial atmosphere. Forecasting schemes have been developed, which use earlier signatures of particle acceleration to predict the arrival of solar protons and ions in the space environment of the Earth. The UMASEP (University of MAlaga Solar particle Event Predictor) scheme forecasts the occurrence and the importance of an SEP event based on combined observations of soft X-rays, their time derivative and protons above 10 MeV at geosynchronous orbit. We explore the possibility to replace the derivative of the soft X-ray time history with the microwave time history in the UMASEP scheme. To this end we construct a continuous time series of observations for a 13-month period from December 2011 to December 2012 at two microwave frequencies, 4.995 and 8.8 GHz, using data from the four Radio Solar Telescope Network (RSTN) patrol stations of the US Air Force, and feed this time series to the UMASEP prediction scheme. During the selected period the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) detected nine SEP events related to activity in the western solar hemisphere. We show that the SEP forecasting using microwaves has the same probability of detection as the method using soft X-rays, but no false alarm in the considered period, and a slightly increased warning time. A detailed analysis of the missed events is presented. We conclude that microwave patrol observations improve SEP forecasting schemes that employ soft X-rays. High-quality microwave data available in real time appear as a significant addition to our ability to predict SEP occurrence.

Authors: Pietro Zucca, Marlon N??ez and Karl-Ludwig Klein
Projects: None

Publication Status: Published in Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate 7, A13 (2017)
Last Modified: 2017-06-07 13:05
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Acceleration and Propagation of Solar Energetic Particles  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2017-05-23 11:07

Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) are an important component of Space Weather, including radiation hazard to humans and electronic equipment, and the ionisation of the Earth's atmosphere. We review the key observations of SEPs, our current understanding of their acceleration and transport, and discuss how this knowledge is incorporated within Space Weather forecasting tools. Mechanisms for acceleration during solar flares and at shocks driven by Coronal Mass Ejections are discussed, as well as the timing relationships between signatures of solar eruptive events and the detection of SEPs in interplanetary space. Evidence on how the parameters of SEP events are related to those of the parent solar activity is reviewed and transport effects influencing SEP propagation to near-Earth locations are examined. Finally, the approaches to forecasting Space Weather SEP effects are discussed. We conclude that both flare and CME shock acceleration contribute to Space Weather relevant SEP populations and need to be considered within forecasting tools.

Authors: Karl-Ludwig Klein and Silvia Dalla
Projects: None

Publication Status: Space Science Reviews, accepted
Last Modified: 2017-05-24 14:23
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Microwave radio emissions as a proxy for coronal mass ejection speed in arrival predictions of interplanetary coronal mass ejections at 1 AU  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2017-01-17 01:50

The propagation of a coronal mass ejection (CME) to the Earth takes between about 15 h and several days. We explore whether observations of non-thermal microwave bursts, produced by near-relativistic electons via the gyrosynchrotron process, can be used to predict travel times of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) from the Sun to the Earth. In a first step, a relationship is established between the CME speed measured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (SoHO/LASCO) near the solar limb and the fluence of the microwave burst. This relationship is then employed to estimate speeds in the corona of earthward-propagating CMEs. These speeds are fed into a simple empirical interplanetary acceleration model to predict the speed and arrival time of the ICMEs at Earth. The predictions are compared with observed arrival times and with the predictions based on other proxies, including soft X-rays (SXR) and coronographic measurements. We found that CME speeds estimated from microwaves and SXR predict the ICME arrival at the Earth with absolute errors of 11 ± 7 and 9 ± 7 h, respectively. A trend to underestimate the interplanetary travel times of ICMEs was noted for both techniques. This is consistent with the fact that in most cases of our test sample, ICMEs are detected on their flanks. Although this preliminary validation was carried out on a rather small sample of events (11), we conclude that microwave proxies can provide early estimates of ICME arrivals and ICME speeds in the interplanetary space. This method is limited by the fact that not all CMEs are accompanied by non-thermal microwave bursts. But its usefulness is enhanced by the relatively simple observational setup and the observation from ground, which makes the instrumentation less vulnerable to space weather hazards.

Authors: Carolina Salas Matamoros, Karl-Ludwig Klein, Gerard Trottet
Projects: None

Publication Status: Published in Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate
Last Modified: 2017-01-18 11:12
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Coronal mass ejection-related particle acceleration regions during a simple eruptive event  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2016-06-04 01:13

An intriguing feature of many solar energetic particle (SEP) events is the detection of particles over a very extended range of longitudes in the heliosphere. This may be due to peculiarities of the magnetic field in the corona, to a broad accelerator, to cross-field transport of the particles, or to a combination of these processes. The eruptive flare on 26 April 2008 provided an opportunity to study relevant processes under particularly favourable conditions since it occurred in a very quiet solar and interplanetary environment. This enabled us to investigate the physical link between a single well-identified coronal mass ejection (CME), electron acceleration as traced by radio emission, and the production of SEPs. We conduct a detailed analysis, which combines radio observations (Nançay Radioheliograph and Nançay Decametre Array, Wind/Waves spectrograph) with remote-sensing observations of the corona in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and white light, as well as in situ measurements of energetic particles near 1AU (SoHO and STEREO spacecraft). By combining images taken from multiple vantage points, we were able to derive the time-dependent evolution of the 3D pressure front that was developing around the erupting CME. Magnetic reconnection in the post-CME current sheet accelerated electrons, which remained confined in closed magnetic fields in the corona, while the acceleration of escaping particles can be attributed to the pressure front ahead of the expanding CME. The CME accelerated electrons remotely from the parent active region, owing to the interaction of its laterally expanding flank, which was traced by an EUV wave, with the ambient corona. SEPs detected at one STEREO spacecraft and SoHO were accelerated later, when the frontal shock of the CME intercepted the spacecraft-connected interplanetary magnetic field line. The injection regions into the heliosphere inferred from the radio and SEP observations are separated in longitude by about 140°. The observations for this event show that it is misleading to interpret multi-spacecraft SEP measurements in terms of one acceleration region in the corona. The different acceleration regions are linked to different vantage points in the interplanetary space.

Authors: Carolina Salas-Matamoros, Karl-Ludwig Klein and Alexis P. Rouillard
Projects: None

Publication Status: Published
Last Modified: 2016-06-05 10:57
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On the Statistical Relationship between CME Speed and Soft X-ray Flux and Fluence of the Associated Flare  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2015-03-31 01:25

Both observation and theory reveal a close relationship between the kinematics of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and the thermal energy release traced by the related soft X-ray (SXR) emission. The major problem of empirical studies of this relationship is the distortion of the CME speed by the projection effect in the coronagraphic measurements. We present a re-assessment of the statistical relationship between CME velocities and SXR parameters, using the SOHO/LASCO catalog and GOES whole Sun observations during the period 1996 to 2008. 49 events were identified where CMEs originated near the limb, at central meridian distances between 70° and 85°, and had a reliably identified SXR burst, the parameters of which - peak flux and fluence - could be determined with some confidence. We find similar correlations between the logarithms of CME speed and of SXR peak flux and fluence as several earlier studies, with correlation coefficients of 0.48 and 0.58, respectively. Correlations are slightly improved over an unrestricted CME sample when only limb events are used. However, a broad scatter persists. We derive the parameters of the CME-SXR relationship and use them to predict ICME arrival times at Earth. We show that the CME speed inferred from SXR fluence measurements tends to perform better than SoHO/LASCO measurements in the prediction of ICME arrival times near 1 AU. The estimation of the CME speed from SXR observations can therefore make a valuable contribution to space weather predictions.

Authors: C. Salas Matamoros, K.-L. Klein
Projects: SoHO-LASCO

Publication Status: Solar Physics, in press. DOI: 10.1007/s11207-014-0628-1
Last Modified: 2015-03-31 08:48
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The relativistic solar particle event of 2005 January 20: origin of delayed particle acceleration  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2014-11-18 08:39

The highest energies of solar energetic nucleons detected in space or through gamma-ray emission in the solar atmosphere are in the GeV range. Where and how the particles are accelerated is still controversial. We search for observational information on the location and nature of the acceleration region(s) by comparing the timing of relativistic protons detected on Earth and radiative signatures in the solar atmosphere during the particularly well-observed 2005 Jan 20 event. This investigation focusses on the post-impulsive flare phase, where a second peak was observed in the relativistic proton time profile by neutron monitors. This time profile is compared in detail with UV imaging and radio spectrography over a broad frequency band from the low corona to interplanetary space. It is shown that the late relativistic proton release to interplanetary space was accompanied by a distinct new episode of energy release and electron acceleration in the corona traced by the radio emission and by brightenings of UV kernels. These signatures are interpreted in terms of magnetic restructuring in the corona after the CME passage. We attribute the delayed relativistic proton acceleration to magnetic reconnection and possibly to turbulence in large-scale coronal loops. While Type II radio emission was observed in the high corona, no evidence of a temporal relationship with the relativistic proton acceleration was found.

Authors: K.-L. Klein, S. Masson, C. Bouratzis, V. Grechnev, A. Hillaris, P. Preka-Papadema
Projects: None

Publication Status: Astron. Astrophysics, published on line
Last Modified: 2014-11-19 09:20
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Statistical Evidence for Contributions of Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections to Major Solar Energetic Particle Events  

Karl-Ludwig Klein   Submitted: 2014-11-18 08:25

Solar energetic particle (SEP) events are related to flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). This work is a new investigation of statistical relationships between SEP peak intensities - deka-MeV protons and near-relativistic electrons - and characteristic quantities of the associated solar activity. We consider the speed of the CME and quantities describing the flare-related energy release: peak flux and fluence of soft X-ray (SXR) emission, fluence of microwave emission. The sample comprises 38 SEP events associated with strong SXR bursts (classes M and X) in the western solar hemisphere between 1997 and 2006, and where the flare-related particle acceleration is accompanied by radio bursts indicating electron escape to the interplanetary space. The main distinction of the present statistical analysis from earlier work is that besides the classical Pearson correlation coefficient the partial correlation coefficients are calculated in order to disentangle the effects of correlations between the solar parameters themselves. The classical correlation analysis shows the usual picture of correlations with broad scatter between SEP peak intensities and the different parameters of solar activity, and strong correlations between the solar activity parameters themselves. The partial correlation analysis shows that the only parameters that affect significantly the SEP intensity are the CME speed and the SXR fluence. The SXR peak flux and the microwave fluence have no additional contribution. We conclude that these findings bring statistical evidence that both flare acceleration and CME shock acceleration contribute to the deka-MeV proton and near-relativistic electron populations in large SEP events.

Authors: G. Trottet, S. Samwel, K.-L. Klein, T. Dudok de Wit, R. Miteva
Projects: None

Publication Status: Solar Physics, in press. DOI: 10.1007/s11207-014-0628-1
Last Modified: 2014-11-19 09:21
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Abstracts by Author
Exploring the potential of microwave diagnostics in SEP forecasting: The occurrence of SEP events
Acceleration and Propagation of Solar Energetic Particles
Microwave radio emissions as a proxy for coronal mass ejection speed in arrival predictions of interplanetary coronal mass ejections at 1 AU
Coronal mass ejection-related particle acceleration regions during a simple eruptive event
On the Statistical Relationship between CME Speed and Soft X-ray Flux and Fluence of the Associated Flare
The relativistic solar particle event of 2005 January 20: origin of delayed particle acceleration
Statistical Evidence for Contributions of Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections to Major Solar Energetic Particle Events

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