Onsets of Solar Proton Events in Satellite and Ground Level Observations: A Comparison
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Onsets of Solar Proton Events in Satellite and Ground Level Observations: A Comparison

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    Space Weather 16(3): 245-260, 2018.
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    The early detection of solar proton event onsets is essential for protecting humans and electronics in space, as well as passengers and crew at aviation altitudes. Two commonly compared methods for observing solar proton events that are sufficiently large and energetic to be detected on the ground through the creation of secondary radiation—known as ground level enhancements (GLEs)—are (1) a network of ground‐based neutron monitors (NMs) and (2) satellite‐based particle detectors. Until recently, owing to the different time resolution of the two data sets, it has not been feasible to compare these two types of observations using the same detection algorithm. This paper presents a comparison between the two observational platforms using newly processed >100 MeV 1 min count rates and fluxes from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 8–12 satellites, and 1 min count rates from the Neutron Monitor Database. We applied the same detection algorithm to each data set (tuned to the different background noise levels of the instrument types). Seventeen SPEs with GLEs were studied: GLEs 55–70 from Solar Cycle 23 and GLE 71 from Solar Cycle 24. The median difference in the event detection times by GOES and NM data is 0 min, indicating no innate benefit in time of either system. The 10th, 25th, 75th, and 90th percentiles of the onset time differences (GOES minus NMs) are −7.2 min, −1.5 min, 2.5 min, and 4.2 min, respectively. This is in contrast to previous studies in which NM detections led GOES by 8 to 52 min without accounting for different alert protocols.
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