Presentation #208.04 in the session Sun-to-Earth Campaign-style Study of Large Space Weather Events.
Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are a major source of solar wind disturbances that affect the space plasma and magnetic field environment along their propagation path. Accurate prediction of the arrival of a CME at Earth or any point in the heliosphere is still a daunting task. In this study we explore an often overlooked factor — the effects of “pre-events” that can alter the propagation of a CME due to a preceding CME. A data driven magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) numerical model is used to simulate the propagation of multiple CMEs and their driven shocks that occurred in July 2012. The simulation results are validated with in situ solar wind plasma and magnetic field measurements at 1 AU, testing the appropriateness of our simulation results for interpreting the CME/shock evolution. By comparing the simulation results with and without preceding CMEs, we find that the trailing CME can be accelerated by the “wake” of a preceding CME. A detailed analysis suggests that the acceleration is caused partially by an increase in the background solar wind and partially by the so-called “snow-plow” effect, with the latter being the major contributor for the July 2012 event.