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Journal Articles Space Science Reviews Year : 2021

Understanding the Origins of Problem Geomagnetic Storms Associated with "Stealth" Coronal Mass Ejections

Nariaki V. Nitta
  • Function : Author
Tamitha Mulligan
  • Function : Author
Emilia K. J. Kilpua
  • Function : Author
Benjamin J. Lynch
  • Function : Author
Marilena Mierla
  • Function : Author
Jennifer O'Kane
  • Function : Author
Paolo Pagano
  • Function : Author
Erika Palmerio
Jens Pomoell
  • Function : Author
Ian G. Richardson
  • Function : Author
Luciano Rodriguez
  • Function : Author
Suvadip Sinha
  • Function : Author
Nandita Srivastava
  • Function : Author
Dana-Camelia Talpeanu
  • Function : Author
Stephanie L. Yardley
  • Function : Author
Andrei N. Zhukov
  • Function : Author


Geomagnetic storms are an important aspect of space weather and can result in significant impacts on space- and ground-based assets. The majority of strong storms are associated with the passage of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) in the near-Earth environment. In many cases, these ICMEs can be traced back unambiguously to a specific coronal mass ejection (CME) and solar activity on the frontside of the Sun. Hence, predicting the arrival of ICMEs at Earth from routine observations of CMEs and solar activity currently makes a major contribution to the forecasting of geomagnetic storms. However, it is clear that some ICMEs, which may also cause enhanced geomagnetic activity, cannot be traced back to an observed CME, or, if the CME is identified, its origin may be elusive or ambiguous in coronal images. Such CMEs have been termed "stealth CMEs". In this review, we focus on these "problem" geomagnetic storms in the sense that the solar/CME precursors are enigmatic and stealthy. We start by reviewing evidence for stealth CMEs discussed in past studies. We then identify several moderate to strong geomagnetic storms (minimum Dst <−50 nT) in solar cycle 24 for which the related solar sources and/or CMEs are unclear and apparently stealthy. We discuss the solar and in situ circumstances of these events and identify several scenarios that may account for their elusive solar signatures. These range from observational limitations (e.g., a coronagraph near Earth may not detect an incoming CME if it is diffuse and not wide enough) to the possibility that there is a class of mass ejections from the Sun that have only weak or hard-to-observe coronal signatures. In particular, some of these sources are only clearly revealed by considering the evolution of coronal structures over longer time intervals than is usually considered. We also review a variety of numerical modelling approaches that attempt to advance our understanding of the origins and consequences of stealthy solar eruptions with geoeffective potential. Specifically, we discuss magnetofrictional modelling of the energisation of stealth CME source regions and magnetohydrodynamic modelling of the physical processes that generate stealth CME or CME-like eruptions, typically from higher altitudes in the solar corona than CMEs from active regions or extended filament channels.
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Dates and versions

insu-03672331 , version 1 (19-05-2022)





Nariaki V. Nitta, Tamitha Mulligan, Emilia K. J. Kilpua, Benjamin J. Lynch, Marilena Mierla, et al.. Understanding the Origins of Problem Geomagnetic Storms Associated with "Stealth" Coronal Mass Ejections. Space Science Reviews, 2021, 217, ⟨10.1007/s11214-021-00857-0⟩. ⟨insu-03672331⟩
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