Solar Physics

, Volume 287, Issue 1, pp 239-263

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Comparing Simulations of Rising Flux Tubes Through the Solar Convection Zone with Observations of Solar Active Regions: Constraining the Dynamo Field Strength

  • M. A. WeberAffiliated withHigh Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric ResearchColorado State University Email author 
  • , Y. FanAffiliated withHigh Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • , M. S. MieschAffiliated withHigh Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research


We study how active-region-scale flux tubes rise buoyantly from the base of the convection zone to near the solar surface by embedding a thin flux tube model in a rotating spherical shell of solar-like turbulent convection. These toroidal flux tubes that we simulate range in magnetic field strength from 15 kG to 100 kG at initial latitudes of 1 to 40 in both hemispheres. This article expands upon Weber, Fan, and Miesch (Astrophys. J. 741, 11, 2011) (Article 1) with the inclusion of tubes with magnetic flux of 1020 Mx and 1021 Mx, and more simulations of the previously investigated case of 1022 Mx, sampling more convective flows than the previous article, greatly improving statistics. Observed properties of active regions are compared to properties of the simulated emerging flux tubes, including: the tilt of active regions in accordance with Joy’s Law as in Article 1, and in addition the scatter of tilt angles about the Joy’s Law trend, the most commonly occurring tilt angle, the rotation rate of the emerging loops with respect to the surrounding plasma, and the nature of the magnetic field at the flux tube apex. We discuss how these diagnostic properties constrain the initial field strength of the active-region flux tubes at the bottom of the solar convection zone, and suggest that flux tubes of initial magnetic field strengths of ≥ 40 kG are good candidates for the progenitors of large (1021 Mx to 1022 Mx) solar active regions, which agrees with the results from Article 1 for flux tubes of 1022 Mx. With the addition of more magnetic flux values and more simulations, we find that for all magnetic field strengths, the emerging tubes show a positive Joy’s Law trend, and that this trend does not show a statistically significant dependence on the magnetic flux.


Interior, convection zone Magnetic fields, models