An Unusual Pattern of Cosmic-Ray Modulation During Solar Cycles 23 and 24
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By means of an analysis of data from eight neutron monitor (NM) stations with different geomagnetic cutoff rigidities, we found an unusual latitudinal effect observed in the cosmic-ray (CR) modulation during the last solar cycles. Since the beginning of the ground-based cosmic-ray monitoring, it is known that the solar-cycle modulation is more evident in data from high latitude than from the medium and low latitudes, showing an expected geomagnetic cutoff rigidity effect. However, a more detailed look shows a new latitudinal effect in cycle 24: while the magnitude of the solar modulation in the low-latitude data remains the same for the last three solar minima, the last solar minimum caused a more intense peak in the polar NM data than in the previous cycles. After correcting the data for the geomagnetic changes of the period, we found an anomalous solar modulation in the last cycle. This suggests a weaker heliospheric modulation at low-energy particles (responsible for the NM counting in polar sites) now than in the previous cycles, while there is no significant difference of the modulation for the more energetic part of the CR spectrum. Our result can be associated with changes of the solar wind turbulence, which would corroborate some recent studies about the last solar minimum phase, and indicates that this new solar modulation feature is still present in the current solar maximum stage.
KeywordsCosmic rays, galactic Solar cycle, observations
The authors thank the ReSoLVE Center of Excellence (Academy of Finland project: 272157) for the support. A.A. Pacini also thanks the CNPq Brazilian agency for financial support (processes: 473843/2013-7). The authors acknowledge NMDB ( www.nmdb.eu ) and all our colleagues from the following neutron monitor stations for providing the data used in this work: Apatity, Oulu (our data), Kerguelen, Kiel, Moscow, Rome, Tsumeb and Potchefstroom. The authors would like to thank the referee for the careful revision of our submitted manuscript.
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