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Numerical simulations of the geospace response to the arrival of a perfect interplanetary coronal mass ejection
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  • Daniel Welling,
  • Jeffrey Love,
  • E. Joshua Rigler,
  • Denny Oliveira,
  • Colin Komar
Daniel Welling
University of Texas at Arlington Department of Physics, Arlington, Texas, United States

Corresponding Author:dantwelling@gmail.com

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Jeffrey Love
Geomagnetism Program, Geologic Hazards Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado, United States
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E. Joshua Rigler
gnetism Program, Geologic Hazards Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado, United States
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Denny Oliveira
Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
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Colin Komar
The Catholic University of America, Washington DC, USA
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Understanding extreme space weather events in terms of the geospace response is a critical step towards protecting vulnerable technological infrastructure. This is particularly relevant for the effects of geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) on ground-based power grids, which can be approximated by examining the rate of change of the surface magnetic field, $dB/dt$. In a previous study, \citet{Tsurutani2014} created estimates for a perfect, isolated interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) and performed a simple calculation for the response of geospace, including $dB/dt$. In this study, the estimates of \citet{Tsurutani2014} are used to drive a coupled magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)-ring current-ionosphere model of geospace to obtain more detailed and physically accurate estimates of the geospace response to such an ICME. The sudden impulse phase is examined; calculations of surface $dB/dt$, Dst index, and day side magnetopause compression are compared to the less sophisticated estimations of \citet{Tsurutani2014}. It is found that while the previous study yielded similar estimates for Dst rise and magnetopause compression, $dB/dt$ estimates are as much as an order of magnitude lower than the results obtained via physics-based modeling. This work shows that $dB/dt$ values in excess of 30$nT/s$ are found as low as 40$^{\circ}$ magnetic latitude. It is also shown that the direction of the interplanetary magnetic field plays a critical role: under southward IMF conditions, magnetopause erosion combines with strong region 1 Birkeland currents to intensify the $dB/dt$ response. The values obtained here surpass those found in real-world events and sets the bar for the upper threshold of extreme GIC activity at Earth.