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A Combined Analysis of the Observational Aspects of the Quasi-biennial Oscillation in Solar Magnetic Activity

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Solar quasi-biennial oscillations (QBOs) with the time scale of 0.6–4 yrs appear to be a basic feature of the Sun’s activity. Observational aspects of QBOs are reviewed on the basis of recent publications. Solar QBOs are shown to be ubiquitous and very variable. We demonstrate that many features of QBOs are common to different observations. These features include variable periodicity and intermittence with signs of stochastisity, a presence at all levels of the solar atmosphere and even in the convective zone, independent development in the northern and southern solar hemispheres, most pronounced amplitudes during the maximum phase of the 11-yr cycle and the transition of QBOs into interplanetary space. Temporal weakening of solar activity around the maximum of the 11-yr cycle (Gnevyshev Gap) can be considered an integral part of QBOs. The exact mechanism by which the solar QBO is produced is poorly understood. We describe some of the most plausible theoretical mechanisms and discuss observational features that support/contradict the theory. QBOs have an important meaning as a benchmark of solar activity, not only for investigation of the solar dynamo but also in terms of space weather.

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The paper was stimulated by the workshop “The solar activity cycle: physical causes and consequences”. It is a pleasure to thank André Balogh, Hugh Hudson, Kristof Petrovay, Rudolf von Steiger and the International Space Science Institute for financial support, excellent organization and hospitality. We thank SIDC-team, World Data Center for the Sunspot Index, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Royal Observatory (Greenwich), Wilcox Solar Observatory, NOAA NGDC, GSFC, IZMIRAN Cosmic Ray group, WDC for Geomagnetism (Kyoto) providing their data in open access. We thank the Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network for making their data available to us. G.B. acknowledges support from the Russian Academy of Sciences. A.M.B thanks the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick for their support. Y.E. acknowledges support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). A.M.B. and Y.E. acknowledge the Leverhulme trust for funding “Probing the Sun: inside and out” project upon which this research is partly based. V.N.: This work was supported by the European Research Council under the SeismoSun Research Project No. 321141 and the BK21 plus program through the National Research Foundation funded by the Ministry of Education of Korea.

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Bazilevskaya, G., Broomhall, A., Elsworth, Y. et al. A Combined Analysis of the Observational Aspects of the Quasi-biennial Oscillation in Solar Magnetic Activity. Space Sci Rev 186, 359–386 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-014-0068-0

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  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: magnetic fields