Solar Physics

, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 35–42 | Cite as

Long-term variations in north-south asymmetry of solar activity

  • Derek B. Swinson
  • Hisako Koyama
  • Takao Saito


We present a new set of data on relative sunspot number (total, northern hemisphere, and southern hemisphere), taken for the 37-yr period 1947 to 1983; this constitutes a particularly coherent and consistent set of data, taken by the same observer (Hisako Koyama) using the same observing instrument. These data are combined with earlier data (White and Trotter, 1977) on the variation of sunspot areas for both solar hemispheres from 1874 to 1971. The combined data, covering 110 years and 10 solar cycles, are examined for periodicity in solar activity north-south asymmetry. We show that, in general, northern hemisphere activity, displayed as either An/(An + As) or Rn/(Rn + Rs), peaks about two years after sunspot minimum. This peak is greater during even cycles, pointing to a 22-yr periodicity in north-south asymmetry in solar activity, suggesting that the asymmetry is related to the 22-yr solar magnetic cycle. We demonstrate that the largest and most protracted period of northern-hemisphere activity excess in the last 110 years has occurred from 1959 to 1970; we show that there is a strong correlation between northern activity excess and a cosmic-ray density gradient perpendicular to the ecliptic plane, pointing southward, which is evident in cosmic-ray diurnal variation data from the Embudo underground cosmic-ray telescope.


Solar Activity Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Sunspot Area Activity Excess 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek B. Swinson
    • 1
  • Hisako Koyama
    • 1
  • Takao Saito
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueU.S.A.

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