Predicting the geoeffective properties of coronal mass ejections: current status, open issues and path forward
Much progress has been made in the study of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), the main drivers of terrestrial space weather thanks to the deployment of several missions in the last decade. The flow of energy required to power solar eruptions is beginning to be understood. The initiation of CMEs is routinely observed with cadences of tens of seconds with arc-second resolution. Their inner heliospheric evolution can now be imaged and followed routinely. Yet relatively little progress has been made in predicting the geoeffectiveness of a particular CME. Why is that? What are the issues holding back progress in medium-term forecasting of space weather? To answer these questions, we review, here, the measurements, status and open issues on the main CME geoeffective parameters; namely, their entrained magnetic field strength and configuration, their Earth arrival time and speed, and their mass (momentum). We offer strategies for improving the accuracy of the measurements and their forecasting in the near and mid-term future. To spark further discussion, we incorporate our suggestions into a top-level draft action plan that includes suggestions for sensor deployment, technology development and modelling/theory improvements.This article is part of the theme issue `Solar eruptions and their space weather impact'.