Solar Physics

, Volume 289, Issue 5, pp 1843–1861 | Cite as

Long-term Spatial and Temporal Variations of Aurora Borealis Events in the Period 1700 – 1905

Article

Abstract

Catalogues and other records of aurora-borealis events were used to study the long-term spatial and temporal variation of these phenomena in the period from 1700 to 1905 in the Northern Hemisphere. For this purpose, geographic and geomagnetic coordinates were assigned to approximately 27 000 auroral events with more than 80 000 observations. They were analyzed separately in three large-scale areas: i) Europe and North Africa, ii) North America, and iii) Asia. There was a clear need to fill some gaps existing in the records so as to have a reliable proxy of solar activity, especially during the 18th century. In order to enhance the long-term variability, an 11-year smoothing window was applied to the data. Variations in the cumulative numbers of auroral events with latitude (in both geographic and geomagnetic coordinates) were used to discriminate between the two main solar sources: coronal mass ejections and high-speed streams from coronal holes. The characteristics of the associated auroras correlate differently with the solar-activity cycle.

Keywords

Solar activity Geomagnetic storm Aurora borealis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their gratitude to Sam Silverman who has undertaken the immense task of collecting thousands of auroral reports around the world and making them available to the scientific community. Some well-known auroral catalogues (Fritz, Angot) used for this study are from Jack Eddy’s Compilation of Auroral Catalogues and were obtained from the Research Data Archive (RDA), which is maintained by the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The original data are available from the RDA (dss.ucar.edu) with data set number ds836.0. Support from the Junta de Extremadura (Research Group Grant No. GR10131) and the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of the Spanish Government (AYA2011-25945) is also gratefully acknowledged. Finally, we thank an anonymous referee for useful suggestions.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Astrofísica de CanariasLa LagunaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de AstrofísicaUniversidad de La LagunaLa LagunaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de FísicaUniversidad de ExtremaduraMéridaSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de FísicaUniversidad de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain

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