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Tests of sunspot number sequences: 2. Using geomagnetic and auroral data

Lockwood, M., Owens, M. J., Barnard, L., Scott, C. J., Usoskin, I. G. and Nevanlinna, H. (2016) Tests of sunspot number sequences: 2. Using geomagnetic and auroral data. Solar Physics, 291 (9-10). pp. 2811-2828. ISSN 1573-093X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11207-016-0913-2


We compare four sunspot-number data sequences against geomagnetic and terrestrial auroral observations. The comparisons are made for the original SIDC (Solar Influences Data Center) composite of Wolf/Zürich/International sunspot number [RISNv1], the group sunspot number [RG] by Hoyt and Schatten (Solar Phys., 181, 491, 1998), the new “backbone” group sunspot number [RBB] by Svalgaard and Schatten (Solar Phys., doi: 10.1007/s11207-015-0815-8, 2016), and the “corrected” sunspot number [RC] by Lockwood, Owens, and Barnard (J. Geophys. Res., 119, 5172, 2014). Each sunspot number is fitted with terrestrial observations, or parameters derived from terrestrial observations to be linearly proportional to sunspot number, over a 30-year calibration interval of 1982 - 2012. The fits are then used to compute test sequences, which extend further back in time and which are compared to RISNv1, RG, RBB, and RC. To study the long-term trends, comparisons are made using averages over whole solar cycles (minimum-to-minimum). The test variations are generated in four ways: i) using the IDV(1d) and IDV geomagnetic indices (for 1845 - 2013) fitted over the calibration interval using the various sunspot numbers and the phase of the solar cycle; ii) from the open solar flux (OSF) generated for 1845 - 2013 from four pairings of geomagnetic indices by Lockwood et al. (Ann. Geophys., 32, 383, 2014) and analysed using the OSF continuity model of Solanki, Schüssler, and Fligge (Nature, 408, 445, 2000) which employs a constant fractional OSF loss rate; iii) the same OSF data analysed using the OSF continuity model of Owens and Lockwood (J. Geophys. Res., 117, A04102, 2012) in which the fractional loss rate varies with the tilt of the heliospheric current sheet and hence with the phase of the solar cycle; iv) the occurrence frequency of low-latitude aurora for 1780 - 1980 from the survey of Legrand and Simon (Ann. Geophys., 5, 161, 1987). For all cases, RBB exceeds the test terrestrial series by an amount that increases as one goes back in time.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:65819


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