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Kilpua E.K.J.,University of Helsinki | Mierla M.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Zhukov A.N.,Moscow State University | Vourlidas A.,U.S. Navy | Wood B.,U.S. Navy
Solar Physics | Year: 2014

We examine solar sources for 20 interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) observed in 2009 in the near-Earth solar wind. We performed a detailed analysis of coronagraph and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Our study shows that the coronagraph observations from viewpoints away from the Sun-Earth line are paramount to locate the solar sources of Earth-bound ICMEs during solar minimum. SOHO/LASCO detected only six CMEs in our sample, and only one of these CMEs was wider than 120{ring operator}. This demonstrates that observing a full or partial halo CME is not necessary to observe the ICME arrival. Although the two STEREO spacecraft had the best possible configuration for observing Earth-bound CMEs in 2009, we failed to find the associated CME for four ICMEs, and identifying the correct CME was not straightforward even for some clear ICMEs. Ten out of 16 (63 %) of the associated CMEs in our study were "stealth" CMEs, i.e. no obvious EUV on-disk activity was associated with them. Most of our stealth CMEs also lacked on-limb EUV signatures. We found that stealth CMEs generally lack the leading bright front in coronagraph images. This is in accordance with previous studies that argued that stealth CMEs form more slowly and at higher coronal altitudes than non-stealth CMEs. We suggest that at solar minimum the slow-rising CMEs do not draw enough coronal plasma around them. These CMEs are hence difficult to discern in the coronagraphic data, even when viewed close to the plane of the sky. The weak ICMEs in our study were related to both intrinsically narrow CMEs and the non-central encounters of larger CMEs. We also demonstrate that narrow CMEs (angular widths ≤ 20{ring operator}) can arrive at Earth and that an unstructured CME may result in a flux rope-type ICME. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Sandi H.,Academy of Technical science of Romania | Sandi H.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Borcia I.S.,INCERC National Building Research Institute
Pure and Applied Geophysics | Year: 2011

This paper begins with a critical assessment of the concept of macroseismic intensity, on which traditional scales, such as MSK and EMS, are based. The main shortcoming identified is the model's failure to consider the spectral features of ground motion. This omission may lead to erroneous seismic zonation, as shown in the paper. As a result, the model is of little interest to engineers who must design and build safe structures while adopting economical solutions. The paper presents a way to radically improve this situation. The starting point for this approach was the experience of the destructive Vrancea earthquake of 1977.03.04, which made it clear that intensity appears to be different for structures having natural periods pertaining to different spectral domains. The solution proposed to the shortcomings of the traditional intensity concept is postulated on a system of analytical expressions, covering definitions of global intensities, of intensities related to oscillation frequency and of intensities related to a definite spectral band. The latter definition lies at the basis of a definition of discrete intensity spectra. Illustrative applications are presented, in relation to global intensities and to discrete intensity spectra. We then analyze an illustrative case in which the use of traditional macroseismic survey techniques led to erroneous seismic zonation. Finally, some conclusions and recommendations are presented. Based on the authors' long-term experience, we strongly recommend close interaction between seismologists and engineers in working groups and joint projects targeted on radical improvement of the basic concepts of seismic intensity and of specific analysis procedures. © 2010 Springer Basel AG.

Halain J.-P.,University of Liège | Berghmans D.,Royal Observatory of Belgium | Seaton D.B.,Royal Observatory of Belgium | Nicula B.,Royal Observatory of Belgium | And 8 more authors.
Solar Physics | Year: 2013

The Sun Watcher with Active Pixel System detector and Image Processing (SWAP) telescope was launched on 2 November 2009 onboard the ESA PROBA2 technological mission and has acquired images of the solar corona every one to two minutes for more than two years. The most important technological developments included in SWAP are a radiation-resistant CMOS-APS detector and a novel onboard data-prioritization scheme. Although such detectors have been used previously in space, they have never been used for long-term scientific observations on orbit. Thus SWAP requires a careful calibration to guarantee the science return of the instrument. Since launch we have regularly monitored the evolution of SWAP's detector response in-flight to characterize both its performance and degradation over the course of the mission. These measurements are also used to reduce detector noise in calibrated images (by subtracting dark-current). Because accurate measurements of detector dark-current require large telescope off-points, we also monitored straylight levels in the instrument to ensure that these calibration measurements are not contaminated by residual signal from the Sun. Here we present the results of these tests and examine the variation of instrumental response and noise as a function of both time and temperature throughout the mission. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Kilpua E.K.J.,University of Helsinki | Mierla M.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Zhukov A.N.,Moscow State University | Srivastava N.,Physical Research Laboratory
Solar Physics | Year: 2012

We study the relationship between the speeds of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) obtained close to the Sun and in the interplanetary medium during the low solar-activity period from 2008 to 2010. We use a multi-spacecraft forward-modeling technique to fit a flux-rope-like model to white-light coronagraph images from the STEREO and SOHO spacecraft to estimate the geometrical configuration, propagation in three-dimensions (3D), and the radial speeds of the observed CMEs. The 3D speeds obtained in this way are used in existing CME travel-time prediction models. The results are compared to the actual CME transit times from the Sun to STEREO, ACE, and Wind spacecraft as well as to the transit times calculated using projected CME speeds. CME 3D speeds give slightly better predictions than projected CME speeds, but a large scatter is observed between the predicted and observed travel times, even when 3D speeds are used. We estimate the possible sources of errors and find a weak tendency for large interplanetary CMEs (ICMEs) with high magnetic fields to arrive faster than predicted and small, low-magnetic-field ICMEs to arrive later than predicted. The observed CME transit times from the Sun to 1 AU show a particularly good correlation with the upstream solar-wind speed. Similar trends have not been observed in previous studies using data sets near solar maximum. We suggest that near solar minimum a relatively narrow range of CME initial speeds, sizes, and magnetic-field magnitudes led to a situation where aerodynamic drag between CMEs and ambient solar wind was the primary cause of variations in CME arrival times from the Sun to 1 AU. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Bemporad A.,National institute for astrophysics | Zuccarello F.P.,Catholic University of Leuven | Zuccarello F.P.,National institute for astrophysics | Jacobs C.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 3 more authors.
Solar Physics | Year: 2012

The aim of this work is to provide a physical explanation for the genesis of multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in an asymmetric coronal field configuration. We analyze STEREO observations of a multiple eruption and compare the results from the data analysis with predictions provided by magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations. To this end, the multiple CMEs (MCMEs) observed on 21-22 September 2009 were selected. Both eruptions originated from the same source region and showed approximately the same latitudinal deflection, by more than 15 degrees, toward the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) during their propagation in the COR1 field of view. Numerical MHD simulations of the MCMEs have been performed, starting from an asymmetric coronal field configuration that mimics the potential field source surface extrapolation for 21 September 2009. The results demonstrate that, by shearing the footpoints at the base of the southern arcade, we were able to reproduce the observed dynamics of the MCMEs. Both CMEs are deflected toward the HCS due to an imbalance in the magnetic pressure and tension forces; the global field strength turns out to be a crucial parameter in order to release two subsequent eruptions, and hence to reproduce the observed evolution. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Mierla M.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Mierla M.,University of Bucharest | Zhukov A.N.,Moscow State University | Kilpua E.,University of Helsinki
Solar Physics | Year: 2011

The twin STEREO spacecraft have been observing the Sun since 2006. Even though STEREO has only been active during solar minimum conditions so far, an important number of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and their interplanetary counterparts (ICMEs) have been observed. Many of the ICMEs can be linked back to the corresponding CMEs on the Sun through the combination of remote-sensing and in situ observations. This paper aims to answer the question whether a CME observed by a coronagraph will be detected in situ by a spacecraft in a specific location in the heliosphere. We use a flux-rope-like model fit to the STEREO SECCHI/COR2 data to obtain the direction of CME propagation and its geometrical configuration in three dimensions. Based on model parameters, we then calculate their angular widths and determine whether they should have been detected by STEREO-A, STEREO-B, Wind or ACE. We compare the results with corresponding in situ observations of ICMEs. We find that predictions of ICME detections on the base of COR2 data generally match well the actual in situ observations. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Feng L.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Feng L.,Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research | Inhester B.,Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research | Mierla M.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Mierla M.,Royal Observatory of Belgium
Solar Physics | Year: 2013

We compare different methods to reconstruct three-dimensional (3D) coronal mass ejection (CME) morphology. The explored methods include geometric localisation, mask fitting, forward modelling, polarisation ratio, and local correlation tracking plus triangulation. These five methods are applied to the same CME event that occurred on 7 August 2010. Their corresponding results are presented and compared, especially in their propagation direction and spatial extent in 3D. We find that the mask fitting and geometric localisation methods produce consistent results. Reconstructions including three-view observations are more precise than reconstructions done with only two views. Compared to the forward modelling method, in which an a priori shape of the CME geometry is assumed, the mask fitting has more flexibility. The polarisation ratio method makes use of the Thomson scattering geometry. We find that spatially the 3D CME derived from the mask fitting lies mostly in the overlap region obtained with the polarisation method using data from STEREO. In addition, the mask fitting can help resolve the front/back ambiguity inherent in the polarisation ratio method. However, the local correlation tracking plus triangulation did not show consistent results with the other four methods. This method performed poorly, primarily because the two STEREO spacecraft had a large angular separation. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to identify points taken from independent images that correspond to the same physical feature. Excluding the local correlation tracking method, the latitude of the CME's centre of gravity derived from the other methods deviates within 1 °, and the longitude differs within 19 °. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA-2007-1.1-01 | Award Amount: 40.31M | Year: 2009

SAFER aims at implementing preoperational versions of the Emergency Response Core Service. SAFER will reinforce European capacity to respond to emergency situations: fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, humanitarian crisis. The main goal is the upgrade of the core service and the validation of its performance with 2 priorities: First priority is the short term improvement of response when crisis occurs, with the rapid mapping capacity after disastrous events, including the relevant preparatory services (reference maps). For validation purposes, the project will deliver as from 2008 services at full scale for real events or during specific exercises. The main performance criterion is the response time. RTD work addresses technical, operational and organisational issues. The content of this first action is consistent with the definition of the preparatory action recently decided. The second priority is the extension to core service components before and after the crisis. It targets the longer term service evolution, through the provision of thematic products, to be added in the portfolio of services. The main performance criterion is the added-value of products with risk-specific information. In SAFER, thematic products will cover mainly the meteorological and geophysical risks. SAFER includes also some transverse RDT actions, with the objective to increase added-value of the overall service chain. Users involvement is a key driver and a specific task addresses the federation of the key users, both for interventions in Europe and outside Europe. The emphasis put on quality assurance and validation methodology is reflected in the work plan. The consortium is built around a core team of European service providers, already involved in the former or ongoing projects, in the frame of FP6 or ESA programmes. A wide network of scientific partners and service providers will extend the European dimension, in particular in the new member states.

Sandi H.,Romanian Academy of Sciences | Sandi H.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Borcia I.S.,INCERC National Building Research Institute
Pure and Applied Geophysics | Year: 2011

The paper is intended to summarize the most important instrumental data of direct relevance for engineering activities, obtained in connection with the strong Vrancea earthquakes of 4 March 1977, 30 August 1986, 30 May 1990, and 31 May 1990, and to point out some significant consequences and conclusions derived on this basis. Two main objectives of this analysis may be emphasized: (a) in-depth analysis of the radiation pattern; and (b) analysis of the spectral contents of ground motion in connection with the features of local conditions, and with the intention of assessing the relative importance of two main factors: source mechanism and long-distance wave propagation, versus features of local geological conditions. Some specific methodological developments used in this context may be mentioned: (a) use of a new approach to the quantification of ground motion intensity on the basis of instrumental (accelerographic) information; (b) analysis of radiation pattern in spectral and directivity terms; (c) parametric analysis of site-specific transfer functions for the local sequences of geological layers; and (d) a critical view on the outcome of post-earthquake survey techniques, keeping in view the implications of the spectral features of ground motion. The main results obtained are related to: (a) ground motion radiation features that have to be taken into account in connection with the data on the source mechanisms of the successive events dealt with; (b) expected spectral features of future strong ground motion at different sites; (c) methodological developments proposed for the assessment of local transfer functions; and (d) implications for microzonation activities. © 2010 Springer Basel AG.

Stanica D.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy | Stanica D.A.,Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science | Year: 2011

In this paper the electromagnetic normalized functions (ENF), carried out in ULF band, have been analyzed in correlation with intermediate depth seismic events occurring in Vrancea zone. To confirm the relationship between anomalous, pre-seismic behavior and an imminent earthquake, a methodology based on the temporal invariability criterion of ENF for a 2-D structure, in non-geodynamic conditions, has been used. The electromagnetic data were collected at the Geodynamic Observatory Provita de Sus (GOPS), placed on the Carpathian electrical conductivity anomaly where the epicentral distance is about 100 km, and the National Geophysical Observatory Surlari (NGOS) taken as a reference and located 140 km from the Vrancea zone. The daily mean distributions of the ENF over a span of several months in 2009, carried out at GOPS, exhibit significant enhancements from the normal trend before all the earthquakes with magnitudes higher than 4. Two correlations between the magnitudes of seismic events and Bzn have to be highlighted: (i) an earthquake of M ≥ 4 is expected to occur when Bzn ≥ 1.846; (ii) meanwhile, the anomalous behaviour of Bzn ≥ 1.851 may be use as pre- seismic value for an earthquake of M ≥ 5. The lead time is closed on 7-15 days before earthquakes occurrence. © 2011 Author(s).

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