Solar Physics

, 293:65 | Cite as

Wind Magnetic Clouds for the Period 2013 – 2015: Model Fitting, Types, Associated Shock Waves, and Comparisons to Other Periods

  • R. P. Lepping
  • C.-C. Wu
  • D. B. Berdichevsky
  • A. Szabo


We give the results of parameter fitting of the magnetic clouds (MCs) observed by the Wind spacecraft for the three-year period 2013 to the end of 2015 (called the “Present” period) using the MC model of Lepping, Jones, and Burlaga (J. Geophys. Res.95, 11957, 1990). The Present period is almost coincident with the solar maximum of the sunspot number, which has a broad peak starting in about 2012 and extending to almost 2015. There were 49 MCs identified in the Present period. The modeling gives MC quantities such as size, axial attitude, field handedness, axial magnetic-field strength, center time, and closest-approach vector. Derived quantities are also estimated, such as axial magnetic flux, axial current density, and total axial current. Quality estimates are assigned representing excellent, fair/good, and poor. We provide error estimates on the specific fit parameters for the individual MCs, where the poor cases are excluded. Model-fitting results that are based on the Present period are compared to the results of the full Wind mission from 1995 to the end of 2015 (Long-term period), and compared to the results of two other recent studies that encompassed the periods 2007 – 2009 and 2010 – 2012, inclusive. We see that during the Present period, the MCs are, on average, slightly slower, slightly weaker in axial magnetic field (by 8.7%), and larger in diameter (by 6.5%) than those in the Long-term period. However, in most respects, the MCs in the Present period are significantly closer in characteristics to those of the Long-term period than to those of the two recent three-year periods. However, the rate of occurrence of MCs for the Long-term period is \(10.3~\mbox{year}^{-1}\), whereas this rate for the Present period is \(16.3~\mbox{year}^{-1}\), similar to that of the period 2010 – 2012. Hence, the MC occurrence rate has increased appreciably in the last six years. MC Type (N–S, S–N, All N, All S, etc.) is assigned to each MC; there is an inordinately large percentage of All S, by about a factor of two compared to that of the Long-term period, indicating many strongly tipped MCs. In 2005, there was a distinct change in variability and average value (viewed at \(1/2\) year averages) of the duration, MC speed, axial magnetic field strength, axial magnetic flux, and total current to lower values. In the Present period, upstream shocks occur for 43% of the 49 cases; for comparison, the Long-term rate is 56%.


Magnetic cloud Interplanetary shock Interplanetary magnetic field Long/short-term variation 



We thank the Wind MFI and SWE teams for the care that they employ in producing the magnetic-field and plasma data. We used the data base on interplanetary shock waves maintained by the University of Helsinki. This study was partially supported by the Chief of Naval Research (CCW).

Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMBCBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Naval Research LaboratoryWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of the District of ColumbiaWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Heliosphysics Science DivisionNASA/Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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