Solar Physics

, 293:96 | Cite as

Testing and Improving a Set of Morphological Predictors of Flaring Activity

  • Ioannis KontogiannisEmail author
  • Manolis K. Georgoulis
  • Sung-Hong Park
  • Jordan A. Guerra


Efficient prediction of solar flares relies on parameters that quantify the eruptive capability of solar active regions. Several such quantitative predictors have been proposed in the literature, inferred mostly from photospheric magnetograms and/or white-light observations. Two of them are the Ising energy and the sum of the total horizontal magnetic field gradient. The former has been developed from line-of-sight magnetograms, while the latter uses sunspot detections and characteristics, based on continuum images. Aiming to include these parameters in an automated prediction scheme, we test their applicability on regular photospheric magnetic field observations provided by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) instrument onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). We test their efficiency as predictors of flaring activity on a representative sample of active regions and investigate possible modifications of these quantities. The Ising energy appears to be an efficient predictor, and the efficiency is even improved if it is modified to describe interacting magnetic partitions or sunspot umbrae. The sum of the horizontal magnetic field gradient appears to be slightly more promising than the three variations of the Ising energy we implement in this article. The new predictors are also compared with two very promising predictors: the effective connected magnetic field strength and the total unsigned non-neutralized current. Our analysis shows that the efficiency of morphological predictors depends on projection effects in a nontrivial way. All four new predictors are found useful for inclusion in an automated flare forecasting facility, such as the Flare Likelihood and Region Eruption Forecasting (FLARECAST), but their utility, among others, will ultimately be determined by the validation effort underway in the framework of the FLARECAST project.


Active regions, magnetic fields Flares, forecasting 



This research has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon2020 research and innovation program Flare Likelihood and Region Eruption Forecasting” (FLARECAST) project, under grant agreement No. 640216. The data used are courtesy of NASA/SDO, the HMI science team, and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) team. This work also used data provided by the MEDOC data and operations centre (CNES/CNRS/Univ. Paris-Sud), . We thank the anonymous referees for their valuable comments.

Disclosure of Potential Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Astronomy and Applied Mathematics (RCAAM)Academy of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.School of PhysicsTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.Institute for Space-Earth Environmental ResearchNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Physics DepartmentVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

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