Volume 15, Number 1, March-June 1999
By James L. Green
Over 55 scientists specializing in studies of solar eruptions and the solar wind gathered at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for a data intensive workshop whose topic was "Global Picture of Solar Eruptive Events." The primary goal of the April 27-30 , 1999, workshop was to obtain a broader, more comprehensive understanding of solar eruptions and how they affect Earth and the space around it. The workshop was convened by Drs. Nat Gopalswamy and James Green. This CDAW has an "open" data policy.
With the launch of several solar-observing spacecraft in the 1990s such as Yohkoh, Wind, the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a large number of solar eruptions have been observed in unprecedented detail. In most cases, however, these events have been analyzed as individual, isolated occurrences. "The questions that the workshop addresses - and the ones that need to be answered in order to better understand space weather - all involve the interaction of solar eruptions with the steadier stream of the solar wind," said one of the scientists attending the workshop. "With the data we have collected for this workshop and with the distinguished group of scientists attending the meeting, we should begin to formulate some of the answers."
The workshop has begun a process by which a more systematic and comprehensive study of more than 28 solar eruptive events is taking place. The 28 events were chosen from a list of Type II solar radio bursts in the spectral range from 1 to 14 MHz by the Wind/WAVE instrument. The times of the 28 events are found at the following URL:
The primary data used for this workshop were archived at the National Space Science Data Center, the Solar Data Analysis Center, and the CDAWeb system. Workshop participants submitted relevant and highly processed data for all of the events several months prior to the beginning of the workshop. Over 40 distinct data sets were used that encompass solar image data, in situ observations, and ground-based observations. Data from the CDAW periods were freely exchanged and accessible to all CDAW participants. Unrestricted public access to the data base became available at the conclusion of the workshop though the above Web address.
The workshop was organized with only a few plenary sessions and five working groups. These working groups, headed by a science coordinator, concentrated on investigating specific science questions in five science themes. The themes were as follows:
1) Near-surface manifestations, led by Nat Gopalswamy.
2) Coronal Dimming and Arcade Formation, led by Barbara Thompson.
3) Magnetic Field Changes, led by Craig DeForest.
4) Sources of Energetic Particles, led by Steve Kahler.
5) CMEs and Magnetic Clouds, led by Len Burlaga.
The workshop was sponsored by the Interagency Consultative Group (IACG) and the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program, two multinational efforts to share data and resources from more than two dozen spacecraft and observatories to develop a more comprehensive picture of the Sun-Earth system. It is expected that the science results will be published in an upcoming issue of Geophysics Research Letters. Currently, eight science papers are being written. A follow-up workshop is planned for sometime in February 2000 at GSFC. For more information on the workshop, please visit the above Web site.