Transit Time of Coronal Mass Ejections under Different Ambient Solar Wind Conditions

Shanmugaraju, A.; Vršnak, Bojan
January 2014
Solar Physics;Jan2014, Vol. 289 Issue 1, p339
Academic Journal
The speed [ v( R)] of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) at various distances from the Sun is modeled (as proposed by Vršnak and Gopalswamy in J. Geophys. Res. 107, 2002 , doi: 10.1029/2001/JA000120 ) by using the equation of motion adrag= γ( v− w) and its quadratic form adrag= γ( v− w)| v− w|, where v and w are the speeds of the CME and solar wind, respectively. We assume that the parameter γ can be expressed as γ= αRβ, where R is the heliocentric distance, and α and β are constants. We extend the analysis of Vršnak and Gopalswamy to obtain a more detailed insight into the dependence of the CME Sun–Earth transit time on the CME speed and the ambient solar-wind speed, for different combinations of α and β. In such a parameter-space analysis, the results obtained confirm that the CME transit time depends strongly on the state of the ambient solar wind. Specifically, we found that: i) for a particular set of values of α and β, a difference in the solar-wind speed causes larger transit-time differences at low CME speeds [ v0], than at high v0; ii) the difference between transit times of slow and fast CMEs is larger at low solar-wind speed [ w0] than at high w0; iii) transit times of fast CMEs are only slightly influenced by the solar-wind speed. The last item is especially important for space-weather forecasting, since it reduces the number of key parameters that determine the arrival time of fast CMEs, which tend to be more geo-effective than the slow ones. Finally, we compared the drag-based model results with the observational data for two CME samples, consisting of non-interacting and interacting CMEs (Manoharan et al. in J. Geophys. Res.109, 2004 ). The comparison reveals that the model results are in better agreement with the observations for non-interacting events than for the interacting events. It was also found that for slow CMEs ( v0<500 km s −1), there is a deviation between the observations and the model if slow-wind speeds (≈ 300 – 400 km s −1) are taken for the model input. On the other hand, the model values and the observed data agree for both the slow and the fast CMEs if higher solar-wind speeds are assumed. It is also found that the quadratic form of the drag equation reproduces the observed transit times of fast CMEs better than the linear drag model.


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