On the pulse shape of ground-level enhancements

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 13
  • Abstract:

    We study the temporal intensity profile, or pulse shape, of cosmic ray ground-level enhancements (GLEs) by calculating the rise (τr) and decay (τd) times for a small subset of all available events. Although these quantities show very large inter-event variability, a linear dependence of τd≈3.5τr is found. We interpret these observational findings in terms of an interplanetary transport model, thereby including the effects of scattering (in pitch-angle) as these particles propagate from (near) the Sun to Earth. It is shown that such a model can account for the observed trends in the pulse shape, illustrating that interplanetary transport must be taken into account when studying GLE events, especially their temporal profiles. Furthermore, depending on the model parameters, the pulse shape of GLEs may be determined entirely by interplanetary scattering, obscuring all information regarding the initial acceleration process, and hence making a classification between impulsive and gradual events, as is traditionally done, superfluous