Articles | Volume 24, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 24, 215–245, 2006
Ann. Geophys., 24, 215–245, 2006

  07 Mar 2006

07 Mar 2006

A summary of WIND magnetic clouds for years 1995-2003: model-fitted parameters, associated errors and classifications

R. P. Lepping1, D. B. Berdichevsky1,2, C.-C. Wu1,3, A. Szabo1, T. Narock1,2, F. Mariani4, A. J. Lazarus5, and A. J. Quivers6 R. P. Lepping et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Solar and Space Physics NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 2L-3 Government Services, Inc., 1801 McCormick Dr., Suite 170, Largo, MD 20774, USA
  • 3University of Alabama in Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
  • 4Dipartimento di Fisica Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata 00133 Rome, Italy
  • 5Center for Space Research Mass. Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
  • 6Woodlawn Magnet High School Woodlawn MD 21228, USA

Abstract. Interplanetary magnetic clouds (MCs) have been identified for the first 8.6 years of the WIND mission, and their magnetic field structures have been parameter-fitted by a static, force free, cylindrically-symmetric model (Lepping et al., 1990) with various levels of success. This paper summarizes various aspects of the results of the model fitting by providing: seven estimated model fit-parameter values for each of the 82 MCs found, their objectively determined quality estimates, closest approach vectors (in two coordinate frames), fit-parameter errors for the cases of acceptable quality (50 cases, or 61%), axial magnetic fluxes, axial current densities, and total axial current - as well as some examples of MC profiles for various conditions and "categories" for each case (e.g. Bz: N→S or S→N, etc.). MC quality is estimated from a quantitative consideration of a large set of parameters, such as the chi-squared of the model fit, degree of asymmetry of the B profile, and a comparison of two means of estimating radius. This set of MCs was initially identified by visual inspection of relevant field and plasma data. Each resulting MC candidate is then tested through the use of the MC parameter model, for various adjusted durations to determine the best fit, which helps to refine the boundary-times. The resulting MC set is called Set 1. Another, larger, set (Set 2) of MCs is identified through an automated program whose criteria are based on general MC plasma and field characteristics at 1AU determined through past experience. Set 1 is almost fully contained within Set 2, whose frequency of occurrence better matches that of the sunspot cycle than Set 1. The difference-set (Set 2-Set 1) is referred to as the magnetic cloud-like (MCL) set, whose members do not very well represent good flux ropes through modeling. We present a discussion of how a MC's front boundary is specifically identified in terms of multi-parameter considerations (i.e. any one or more of: increase in B, directional discontinuity, magnetic hole in B, drop in proton plasma beta, B-fluctuation level change, proton temperature drop, etc.), as well as through the application of the flux rope model. Also presented are examples of unusual MCs, as well as some commonly occurring relationships, such as the existence and frequency (approx. 1/2 the time) of upstream interplanetary shocks, and less frequent internal shocks.