Solar Physics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 283-289

First online:

Large-scale photospheric magnetic field: The diffusion of active region fields

  • Kenneth H. SchattenAffiliated withLaboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • , Robert B. LeightonAffiliated withPhysics Department, California Institute of Technology
  • , Robert HowardAffiliated withHale Observatories, Carnegie Institute of Washington, California Institute of Technology
  • , John M. WilcoxAffiliated withInstitute for Plasma Research, Stanford University

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The large-scale photospheric magnetic field has been computed by allowing observed active region fields to diffuse and to be sheared by differential rotation in accordance with the Leighton (1969) magnetokinematic model of the solar cycle. The differential rotation of the computed field patterns as determined by autocorrelation curves is similar to that of the observed photospheric field, and poleward of 20° latitude both are significantly different from the differential rotation of the long-lived sunspots (Newton and Nunn, 1951) used as an input into the computations.