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Keywords:

  • cosmic rays;
  • cosmic ray modulation;
  • interplanetary magnetic field

[1] Galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) play an important role in our understanding of the interplanetary medium (IPM). The causes of their short timescale variations, however, remain largely unexplored. In this paper, we compare high time resolution, multipoint space-based GCR data to explore structures in the IPM that cause these variations. To ensure that features we see in these data actually relate to conditions in the IPM, we look for correlations between the GCR time series from two instruments onboard the Polar and INTEGRAL (International Gamma Ray Astrophysical Laboratory) satellites, respectively inside and outside Earth's magnetosphere. We analyze the period of 18–24 August 2006 during which two interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) passed Earth and produced a Forbush decrease (Fd) in the GCR flux. We find two periods, for a total of 10 h, of clear correlation between small-scale variations in the two GCR time series during these 7 days, thus demonstrating that such variations are observable using space-based instruments. The first period of correlation lasted 6 h and began 2 h before the shock of the first ICME passed the two spacecraft. The second period occurred during the initial decrease of the Fd, an event that did not conform to the typical one- or two-step classification of Fds. We propose that two planar magnetic structures preceding the first ICME played a role in both periods: one structure in driving the first correlation and the other in initiating the Fd.