Articles | Volume 20, issue 7
Ann. Geophys., 20, 937–945, 2002

Special issue: SPACE WEATHER

Ann. Geophys., 20, 937–945, 2002

  31 Jul 2002

31 Jul 2002

Real-time forecasting of ICME shock arrivals at L1 during the "April Fool’s Day" epoch: 28 March – 21 April 2001

W. Sun1, M. Dryer3,2, C. D. Fry2, C. S. Deehr1, Z. Smith3, S.-I. Akasofu4, M. D. Kartalev5, and K. G. Grigorov5 W. Sun et al.
  • 1Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
  • 2Exploration Physics International, Inc., Milford, New Hampshire, USA
  • 3NOAA Space Environment Center, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
  • 5Institute of Mechanics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Correspondence to: W. Sun (

Abstract. The Sun was extremely active during the "April Fool’s Day" epoch of 2001. We chose this period between a solar flare on 28 March 2001 to a final shock arrival at Earth on 21 April 2001. The activity consisted of two presumed helmet-streamer blowouts, seven M-class flares, and nine X-class flares, the last of which was behind the west limb. We have been experimenting since February 1997 with real-time, end-to-end forecasting of interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) shock arrival times. Since August 1998, these forecasts have been distributed in real-time by e-mail to a list of interested scientists and operational USAF and NOAA forecasters. They are made using three different solar wind models. We describe here the solar events observed during the April Fool’s 2001 epoch, along with the predicted and actual shock arrival times, and the ex post facto correction to the real-time coronal shock speed observations. It appears that the initial estimates of coronal shock speeds from Type II radio burst observations and coronal mass ejections were too high by as much as 30%. We conclude that a 3-dimensional coronal density model should be developed for application to observations of solar flares and their Type II radio burst observations.

Key words. Interplanetary physics (flare and stream dynamics; interplanetary shocks) – Magnetosheric physics (storms and substorms)

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