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Coronal and heliospheric magnetic flux circulation and its relation to open solar flux evolution

Lockwood, M., Owens, M. J., Imber, S. M., James, M. K., Bunce, E. J. and Yeoman, T. K. (2017) Coronal and heliospheric magnetic flux circulation and its relation to open solar flux evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122 (6). pp. 5870-5894. ISSN 2169-9402

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2016JA023644

Abstract/Summary

Solar cycle 24 is notable for three features that can be found in previous cycles but which have been unusually prominent: (1) sunspot activity was considerably greater in the northern/southern hemisphere during the rising/declining phase; (2) accumulation of Open Solar Flux (OSF) during the rising phase was modest, but rapid in the early declining phase; (3) the Heliospheric Current Sheet (HCS) tilt showed large fluctuations. We show these features had a major influence on the progression of the cycle. All flux emergence causes a rise then a fall in OSF, but only OSF with footpoints in opposing hemispheres progresses the solar cycle via the evolution of the polar fields. Emergence in one hemisphere, or symmetric emergence without some form of footpoint exchange across the heliographic equator, causes poleward-migrating fields of both polarities in one or both (respectively) hemispheres which temporarily enhance OSF but do not advance the polar field cycle. The heliospheric field observed near Mercury and Earth reflects the asymmetries in emergence. Using magnetograms, we find evidence that the poleward magnetic flux transport (of both polarities) is modulated by the HCS tilt, revealing an effect on OSF loss rate. The declining phase rise in OSF was caused by strong emergence in the southern hemisphere with an anomalously low HCS tilt. This implies the recent fall in the southern polar field will be sustained and that the peak OSF has limited implications for the polar field at the next sunspot minimum and hence for the amplitude of cycle 25.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:70279
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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