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Magnetic Power Spectra of Emerging Active Regions


Magnetic field data provided by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory were utilized to explore the changes in the magnetic energy of four active regions (ARs) during their emergence. We found that at the very early stage of the magnetic flux emergence, an abrupt steepening of the magnetic power spectrum takes place leading to rapid increase of the absolute value of the negative spectra power index \(\alpha \) in \(E(k)\sim k^{\alpha }\). As the emergence proceeds, the energy increases at all scales simultaneously implying that elements of all sizes do appear in the photosphere. Meanwhile, the energy gain at scales larger than \({\approx}\,10~\mbox{Mm}\) prevails over that at smaller scales. Both direct (i.e., fragmentation of large structures into smaller ones) and inverse (i.e., merging of small magnetic features into larger elements) cascades are readily observed during the emergence. However, in the case of inverse cascade, the total energy gained at large scales exceeds the energy loss at smaller scales assuming simultaneous appearance of large-scale magnetic entities from beneath the photosphere. We conclude that most of the time the energy may grow at all scales. We also cannot support the point of view regarding the dominant role of the inverse cascade in the formation of an AR. Although coalescence of small magnetic elements into larger pores and sunspots is observed, our analysis shows that the prevailed energy contribution to an AR comes from emergence of large-scale structures.

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We are grateful to the anonymous referee whose comments helped us to improve the paper. SDO is a mission for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) program. The SDO/HMI data were provided by the Joint Science Operation Center (JSOC). This study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation, Project 18-12-00131.

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Correspondence to Alexander S. Kutsenko.

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Kutsenko, O.K., Kutsenko, A.S. & Abramenko, V.I. Magnetic Power Spectra of Emerging Active Regions. Sol Phys 294, 102 (2019).

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  • Active regions, magnetic fields
  • Turbulence