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Solar Modulation of Cosmic Rays during the Declining and Minimum Phases of Solar Cycle 23: Comparison with Past Three Solar Cycles

Abstract

We study solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) during the deep solar minimum, including the declining phase, of solar cycle 23 and compare the results of this unusual period with the results obtained during similar phases of the previous solar cycles 20, 21, and 22. These periods consist of two epochs each of negative and positive polarities of the heliospheric magnetic field from the north polar region of the Sun. In addition to cosmic-ray data, we utilize simultaneous solar and interplanetary plasma/field data including the tilt angle of the heliospheric current sheet. We study the relation between simultaneous variations in cosmic ray intensity and solar/interplanetary parameters during the declining and the minimum phases of cycle 23. We compare these relations with those obtained for the same phases in the three previous solar cycles. We observe certain peculiar features in cosmic ray modulation during the minimum of solar cycle 23 including the record high GCR intensity. We find, during this unusual minimum, that the correlation of GCR intensity is poor with sunspot number (correlation coefficient R=−0.41), better with interplanetary magnetic field (R=−0.66), still better with solar wind velocity (R=−0.80) and much better with the tilt angle of the heliospheric current sheet (R=−0.92). In our view, it is not the diffusion or the drift alone, but the solar wind convection that is the most likely additional effect responsible for the record high GCR intensity observed during the deep minimum of solar cycle 23.

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Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the use of solar and plasma/field data available through the NASA/GSFC OMNI Web interface. We thank Ilya Usoskin for the Oulu Neutron monitor data and Todd Hoeksema for the HCS inclination data. The authors thank the referee, whose comments and suggestions helped us to improve the paper.

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Correspondence to Badruddin.

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Aslam, O.P.M., Badruddin Solar Modulation of Cosmic Rays during the Declining and Minimum Phases of Solar Cycle 23: Comparison with Past Three Solar Cycles. Sol Phys 279, 269–288 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-012-9970-3

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Keywords

  • Cosmic ray modulation
  • Heliospheric current sheet
  • Solar minimum
  • Solar wind