The 2015 Summer Solstice Storm: One of the Major Geomagnetic Storms of Solar Cycle 24 Observed at Ground Level

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Solar Physics
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Augusto C.R.A.
Navia C.E.
de Oliveira M.N.
Nepomuceno A.A.
Raulin J.P.
Tueros E.
de Mendonca R.R.S.
Fauth A.C.
VieiradeSouza H.
Kopenkin V.
Sinzi T.
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© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.We report on the 22 – 23 June 2015 geomagnetic storm that occurred at the summer solstice. There have been fewer intense geomagnetic storms during the current solar cycle, Solar Cycle 24, than in the previous cycle. This situation changed after mid-June 2015, when one of the largest solar active regions (AR 12371) of Solar Cycle 24 that was located close to the central meridian, produced several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) associated with M-class flares. The impact of these CMEs on the Earth’s magnetosphere resulted in a moderate to severe G4-class geomagnetic storm on 22 – 23 June 2015 and a G2 (moderate) geomagnetic storm on 24 June. The G4 solstice storm was the second largest (so far) geomagnetic storm of Cycle 24. We highlight the ground-level observations made with the New-Tupi, Muonca, and the CARPET El Leoncito cosmic-ray detectors that are located within the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) region. These observations are studied in correlation with data obtained by space-borne detectors (ACE, GOES, SDO, and SOHO) and other ground-based experiments. The CME designations are taken from the Computer Aided CME Tracking (CACTus) automated catalog. As expected, Forbush decreases (FD) associated with the passing CMEs were recorded by these detectors. We note a peculiar feature linked to a severe geomagnetic storm event. The 21 June 2015 CME 0091 (CACTus CME catalog number) was likely associated with the 22 June summer solstice FD event. The angular width of CME 0091 was very narrow and measured ∼56∘ degrees seen from Earth. In most cases, only CME halos and partial halos lead to severe geomagnetic storms. We perform a cross-check analysis of the FD events detected during the rise phase of Solar Cycle 24, the geomagnetic parameters, and the CACTus CME catalog. Our study suggests that narrow angular-width CMEs that erupt in a westward direction from the Sun–Earth line can lead to moderate and severe geomagnetic storms. We also report on the strong solar proton radiation storm that began on 21 June. We did not find a signal from this SEP at ground level. The details of these observations are presented.
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