Severe Space Weather: Simulations of Scaled-Up Storms

Academic Article


  • <p>Extreme space weather events are extremely rare, but pose a significant threat to our infrastructure. The one known event of such kind was the Carrington storm of 1859, but it was not well documented; in particular the solar wind and IMF conditions that caused it remain guesses. On the other hand, the STEREO-A observations of July 23, 2012 showed solar wind and IMF parameters that are most likely comparable to those of the Carrington event, and remind us that such extreme events are very well possible even during times of a quiet sun. Here, we use OpenGGCM simulations of such events to assess the effects of such solar wind and IMF on the magnetosphere. Precious work has shown that during the much more benign Halloween storm the nose of the magnetopause was as close as 4.9 RE, with an accordingly large polar cap. We will present simulations of a sequence of scaled-up storms with increasingly larger driving and demonstrate the further expansion of the polar cap, intensity of plasma injections, and the eventual saturation. In addition, we will show how the ionosphere potential penetrates to lower latitudes and affects the ionosphere and thermosphere at mid latitudes when the solar wind drivers become extreme.</p>
  • Authors

  • Raeder, Joachim
  • Tulegenov, Beket
  • Cramer, William Douglas
  • Germaschewswski, Kai
  • Ferdousi, Banafsheh
  • Maruyama, Naomi
  • Fuller-Rowell, Timothy
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)