We consider the statistical modeling of the occurrence in time of large Kp magnetic storms as a Poisson process, testing whether or not relatively rare, large Kp events can be considered to arise from a stochastic, sequential, and memoryless process. For a Poisson process, the wait times between successive events occur statistically with an exponential density function. Fitting an exponential function to the durations between successive large Kp events forms the basis of our analysis. Defining these wait times by calculating the differences between times when Kp exceeds a certain value, such as Kp ??? 5, we find the wait-time distribution is not exponential. Because large storms often have several periods with large Kp values, their occurrence in time is not memoryless; short duration wait times are not independent of each other and are often clumped together in time. If we remove same-storm large Kp occurrences, the resulting wait times are very nearly exponentially distributed and the storm arrival process can be characterized as Poisson. Fittings are performed on wait time data for Kp ??? 5, 6, 7, and 8. The mean wait times between storms exceeding such Kp thresholds are 7.12, 16.55, 42.22, and 121.40 days respectively.
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Statistical modeling of storm-level Kp occurrences