A Statistical Study of Coronal Mass Ejections and Coronal Holes during 2010-2014

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jenna Lynn Zink, George Mason University Fairfax, Fairfax, VA, United States, Rebekah M Evans, NASA GSFC/ORAU, Greenbelt, MD, United States and Karin Muglach, Artep Inc., Ellicott City, MD, United States
When analyzing CMEs in real time for space weather forecasting, a lack of sufficient coronagraph images can make it difficult to determine the CME’s location. In these cases, usually the location of significant disk signatures (for example, an associated flare) is used to estimate the CME’s location. Although this assumption seems reasonable, observational and numerical studies have shown that CME locations can deviate by ten or more degrees from the source location close to the solar surface. In this work, we present a study of more than 50 events during 2010-2014 covering a range of CME speeds, widths, and source locations. We use the CCMC’s space weather Database Of Notifications, Knowledge, and Information (DONKI) to select events, and use the SWPC’s CME Analysis Tool to measure CMEs in the SOHO/LASCO and STEREO/SECCHI coronagraph images. We find a range of deflections, from less than 5 degrees to more than 15 degrees. It has been proposed that CMEs deflect during propagation due to interactions with other large-scale structures such as coronal holes, streamers, current sheets, and other CMEs. In this study we focus on the influence of coronal holes. We use a combination of SDO/AIA and SECCHI/EUVI images to locate coronal holes near the CME source locations. We present the calculated CME deflection angles as a function of height in the corona, average speed, average width, and coronal hole properties. The goal of this study is to determine appropriate ranges of latitudes and longitudes that can be used in CME ensemble modeling. This requires that coronal hole observations are more systematically incorporated in real time CME analysis for space weather forecasting.

J. Zink conducted this research with support from the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program at GMU. R. Evans is supported through an appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at GSFC, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA.