The rise and fall of open solar flux during the current grand solar maximum
Lockwood, M., Rouillard, A. P. and Finch, I. D. (2009) The rise and fall of open solar flux during the current grand solar maximum. The Astrophysical Journal, 700 (2). pp. 937-944. ISSN 0004-637X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/700/2/937
We use geomagnetic activity data to study the rise and fall over the past century of the solar wind flow speed VSW, the interplanetary magnetic field strength B, and the open solar flux FS. Our estimates include allowance for the kinematic effect of longitudinal structure in the solar wind flow speed. As well as solar cycle variations, all three parameters show a long-term rise during the first half of the 20th century followed by peaks around 1955 and 1986 and then a recent decline. Cosmogenic isotope data reveal that this constitutes a grand maximum of solar activity which began in 1920, using the definition that such grand maxima are when 25-year averages of the heliospheric modulation potential exceeds 600 MV. Extrapolating the linear declines seen in all three parameters since 1985, yields predictions that the grand maximum will end in the years 2013, 2014, or 2027 using VSW, FS, or B, respectively. These estimates are consistent with predictions based on the probability distribution of the durations of past grand solar maxima seen in cosmogenic isotope data. The data contradict any suggestions of a floor to the open solar flux: we show that the solar minimum open solar flux, kinematically corrected to allow for the excess flux effect, has halved over the past two solar cycles.