Thursday, March 7, 2013

1303.1218 (G. J. D. Petrie)

Solar magnetic activity cycles, coronal potential field models and eruption rates    [PDF]

G. J. D. Petrie
We study the evolution of the observed photospheric magnetic field and the modeled global coronal magnetic field during the past 3 1/2 solar activity cycles observed since the mid-1970s. We use synoptic magnetograms and extrapolated potential-field models based on longitudinal full-disk photospheric magnetograms from the NSO's three magnetographs at Kitt Peak, the Synoptic Optical Long-term Investigations of the Sun (SOLIS) vector spectro-magnetograph (VSM), the spectro-magnetograph and the 512-channel magnetograph instruments, and from the U. Stanford's Wilcox Solar Observatory. The associated multipole field components are used to study the dominant length scales and symmetries of the coronal field. Polar field changes are found to be well correlated with active fields over most of the period studied, except between 2003-6 when the active fields did not produce significant polar field changes. Of the axisymmetric multipoles, only the dipole and octupole follow the poles whereas the higher orders follow the activity cycle. All non-axisymmetric multipole strengths are well correlated with the activity cycle. The tilt of the solar dipole is therefore almost entirely due to active-region fields. The axial dipole is the largest contributor to the global field except when the polar fields reverse. According to the Computer Aided CME Tracking (CACTus) and Nobeyama radioheliograph prominence eruption catalogs, the rate of solar eruptions is found to be systematically higher for active years between 2003-2012 than for those between 1997-2002. This appears to be connected with the weakness of the late-cycle 23 polar fields as suggested by Luhmann. We see evidence that the process of cycle 24 field reversal is well advanced at both poles.
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