University of Oulu

Cliver, E.W., Schrijver, C.J., Shibata, K. et al. Extreme solar events. Living Rev Sol Phys 19, 2 (2022).

Extreme solar events

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Author: Cliver, Edward W.1,2; Schrijver, Carolus J.1; Shibata, Kazunari3,4;
Organizations: 1National Solar Observatory, Boulder, CO, USA
2School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
3Kwasan Observatory, Kyoto University, Yamashina, Kyoto, Japan
4Doshisha University, Kyotanabe, Kyoto, Japan
5Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit and Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 8.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-01-26


We trace the evolution of research on extreme solar and solar-terrestrial events from the 1859 Carrington event to the rapid development of the last twenty years. Our focus is on the largest observed/inferred/theoretical cases of sunspot groups, flares on the Sun and Sun-like stars, coronal mass ejections, solar proton events, and geomagnetic storms. The reviewed studies are based on modern observations, historical or long-term data including the auroral and cosmogenic radionuclide record, and Kepler observations of Sun-like stars. We compile a table of 100- and 1000-year events based on occurrence frequency distributions for the space weather phenomena listed above. Questions considered include the Sun-like nature of superflare stars and the existence of impactful but unpredictable solar ”black swans” and extreme ”dragon king” solar phenomena that can involve different physics from that operating in events which are merely large.

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Series: Living reviews in solar physics
ISSN: 2367-3648
ISSN-E: 1614-4961
ISSN-L: 2367-3648
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Article number: 2
DOI: 10.1007/s41116-022-00033-8
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: E.W.C. and I.U. benefited from participation in the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research (ISEE) workshop on Extreme Solar Events organized by Fusa Miyake and Ilya Usoskin held at Nagoya University from 02–06 October 2018, and from membership on the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) International Teams led by Athanasios Papaioannou on high-energy solar particle events. E.W.C. thanks Nat Gopalswamy, Hisashi Hayakawa, Hugh Hudson, Eduard Kontar, Jeffrey Love, Florian Mekhaldi, Raimund Muscheler, Kosuke Namekata, Yuta Notsu, Dean Pesnell, Art Richmond, and Astrid Veronig for helpful discussions, and Lyndsay Fletcher for sponsoring his stay in Glasgow. C.J.S. is grateful for the support of the National Solar Observatory for the completion of this project. K.S. was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 21H01131 and thanks Y. Notsu, K. Namekata, H. Maehara, D. Nogami, S. Okamoto, H. Hayakawa for helpful discussions. I.U. benefited from membership on the ISSI International Team led by Fusa Miyake and himself on extreme solar events and acknowledges support from the academy of Finland (project No. 321882 ESPERA). We thank Owen Giersch and Gelu Nita for kindly sharing data, Astrid Veronig for assistance with Fig. 16, and Peter Gallagher and Brian Dennis for providing Fig. 32. We acknowledge constructive comments from the assigned editor and two reviewers which significantly improved the paper.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 321882
Detailed Information: 321882 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit