Forbush decreases and turbulence levels at coronal mass ejection fronts
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Sai Trinity Building, Pashan, Pune 411021, India
2 Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai 400005, India e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan
4 Nagoya Women's University, Nagoya 467-8610, Japan
Accepted: 25 October 2008
Aims. We seek to estimate the average level of MHD turbulence near coronal mass ejection (CME) fronts as they propagate from the Sun to the Earth.
Methods. We examined the cosmic ray data from the GRAPES-3 tracking muon telescope at Ooty, together with the data from other sources for three closely observed Forbush decrease events. Each of these event is associated with frontside halo coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and near-Earth magnetic clouds. The associated Forbush decreases are therefore expected to have significant contributions from the cosmic-ray depressions inside the CMEs/ejecta. In each case, we estimate the magnitude of the Forbush decrease using a simple model for the diffusion of high-energy protons through the largely closed field lines enclosing the CME as it expands and propagates from the Sun to the Earth. The diffusion of high-energy protons is inhibited by the smooth, large-scale magnetic field enclosing the CME and aided by the turbulent fluctuations near the CME front. We use estimates of the cross-field diffusion coefficient derived from the published results of extensive Monte Carlo simulations of cosmic rays propagating through turbulent magnetic fields. We then compare our estimates with the magnitudes of the observed Forbush decreases.
Results. Our method helps constrain the ratio of energy density in the turbulent magnetic fields to that in the mean magnetic fields near the CME fronts. This ratio is found to be ~2% for the 2001 April 11 Forbush decrease event, ~6% for the 2003 November 20 Forbush decrease event and ~249% for the much more energetic event of 2003 October 29.
Key words: ISM: cosmic rays / Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: solar-terrestrial relations
© ESO, 2009