Institution(s): 1. Georg-August University Goettingen
Fast coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are a prime driver of major space weather effects and strong geomagnetic storms. When the CME propagation speed is higher than the Alfvén speed a shock forms in front of the CME leading edge. CME-driven shocks are observed in in-situ data and, with the advent of increasingly sensitive imaging instruments, also in remote sensing observations in the form of bright fronts ahead of the CMEs.
In this work we present the study of 4 Earth-directed CMEs which drove shocks detected in STEREO COR 2 and HI observations. For each event we identify the source region and the signatures of CME eruption such as waves, EUV dimmings, flare and prominence eruptions. The shock and CME interplanetary evolution is determined from COR2 and HI observations via an application of triangulation techniques. Furthermore, propagation speed and arrival times are inferred. The CME geometry is modelled in COR2 via the graduated cylindrical shell (GCS) model and the assumption on self-similar expansion is tested by expanding the flux rope to the HI1 field of view. A combination of these results with models for the shock location allows to infer the time evolution of the compression ratio ρd/ρu across the shock and of the upstream Mach number M at locations where no direct plasma measurements are available. These values, as well as the arrival time and speed, are compared to ACE in-situ measurements to validate the results.
For the 03 April 2010 event, e.g., the values of the Mach number and the compression ratio extrapolated to the position of ACE are respectively 2.1 < ρd/ρu < 2.4 and 2.3 < M < 2.5, in good agreement with the in-situ values found in literature, ρd/ρu = 2.84 and M = 2.2.
This study is carried out in conjunction to simulations of CME initiation. Combined results from observations and simulations allow to connect the interplanetary and near-Earth properties of CMEs to those of their source regions, and to the mechanisms of CME onset.