Solar cycle variations in the growth and decay of sunspot groups
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We analysed the combined Greenwich (1874–1976) and Solar Optical Observatories Network (1977–2011) data on sunspot groups. The daily rate of change of the area of a spot group is computed using the differences between the epochs of the spot group observation on any two consecutive days during its life-time and between the corrected whole spot areas of the spot group at these epochs. Positive/negative value of the daily rate of change of the area of a spot group represents the growth/decay rate of the spot group. We found that the total amounts of growth and decay of spot groups whose life times ≥2 days in a given time interval (say one-year) well correlate to the amount of activity in the same interval. We have also found that there exists a reasonably good correlation and an approximate linear relationship between the logarithmic values of the decay rate and area of the spot group at the first day of the corresponding consecutive days, largely suggesting that a large/small area (magnetic flux) decreases in a faster/slower rate. There exists a long-term variation (about 90-year) in the slope of the linear relationship. The solar cycle variation in the decay of spot groups may have a strong relationship with the corresponding variations in solar energetic phenomena such as solar flare activity. The decay of spot groups may also substantially contribute to the coherence relationship between the total solar irradiance and the solar activity variations.
KeywordsSun: dynamo Sun: surface magnetism Sun: activity Sun: sunspots (Sun:) solar-terrestrial relations
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