Skip to main content

Photospheric Magnetic Evolution in the WHI Active Regions

Abstract

Sequences of line-of-sight (LOS) magnetograms recorded by the Michelson Doppler Imager are used to quantitatively characterize photospheric magnetic structure and evolution in three active regions that rotated across the Sun’s disk during the Whole Heliosphere Interval (WHI), in an attempt to relate the photospheric magnetic properties of these active regions to flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Several approaches are used in our analysis, on scales ranging from whole active regions, to magnetic features, to supergranular scales, and, finally, to individual pixels. We calculated several parameterizations of magnetic structure and evolution that have previously been associated with flare and CME activity, including total unsigned magnetic flux, magnetic flux near polarity-inversion lines, amount of canceled flux, the “proxy Poynting flux,” and helicity flux. To catalog flare events, we used flare lists derived from both GOES and RHESSI observations. By most such measures, AR 10988 should have been the most flare- and CME-productive active region, and AR 10989 the least. Observations, however, were not consistent with this expectation: ARs 10988 and 10989 produced similar numbers of flares, and AR 10989 also produced a few CMEs. These results highlight present limitations of statistics-based flare and CME forecasting tools that rely upon line-of-sight photospheric magnetic data alone.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Abramenko, V.I.: 2005, Relationship between magnetic power spectrum and flare productivity in solar active regions. Astrophys. J. 629, 1141 – 1149. doi: 10.1086/431732 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Andrews, M.D.: 2003, A search for CMEs associated with big flares. Solar Phys. 218, 261 – 279. doi: 10.1023/B:SOLA.0000013039.69550.bf .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Barnes, G., Leka, K.D.: 2008, Evaluating the performance of solar flare forecasting methods. Astrophys. J. Lett. 688, L107 – L110. doi: 10.1086/595550 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Berger, M.A.: 1984, Rigorous new limits on magnetic helicity dissipation in the solar corona. Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn. 30, 79 – 104.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Berger, M.A., Field, G.B.: 1984, The topological properties of magnetic helicity. J. Fluid Mech. 147, 133 – 148.

    Article  ADS  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  • Burkepile, J.T., Hundhausen, A.J., Stanger, A.L., St. Cyr, O.C., Seiden, J.A.: 2004, Role of projection effects on solar coronal mass ejection properties: 1. A study of CMEs associated with limb activity. J. Geophys. Res. 109(PA18), 3103. doi: 10.1029/2003JA010149 .

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cargill, P.J.: 2009, Coronal magnetism: difficulties and prospects. Space Sci. Rev. 144, 413 – 421. doi: 10.1007/s11214-008-9446-9 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Chae, J.: 2001, Observational determination of the rate of magnetic helicity transport through the solar surface via the horizontal motion of field line footpoints. Astrophys. J. Lett. 560, L95 – L98.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Christe, S., Krucker, S., Lin, R.P.: 2008, Hard X-rays associated with type III radio bursts. Astrophys. J. Lett. 680, L149 – L152. doi: 10.1086/589971 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Christe, S., Hannah, I.G., Krucker, S., McTiernan, J., Lin, R.P.: 2008, RHESSI microflare statistics. I. Flare-finding and frequency distributions. Astrophys. J. 677, 1385 – 1394. doi: 10.1086/529011 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • DeForest, C.E., Hagenaar, H.J., Lamb, D.A., Parnell, C.E., Welsch, B.T.: 2007, Solar magnetic tracking. I. Software comparison and recommended practices. Astrophys. J. 666, 576 – 587. doi: 10.1086/518994 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Démoulin, P., Berger, M.A.: 2003, Magnetic energy and helicity fluxes at the photospheric level. Solar Phys. 215, 203 – 215.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Falconer, D.A., Moore, R.L., Gary, G.A.: 2003, A measure from line-of-sight magnetograms for prediction of coronal mass ejections. J. Geophys. Res. 108(A10), 11. doi: 10.1029/2003JA010030 .

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Falconer, D.A., Moore, R.L., Gary, G.A.: 2006, Magnetic causes of solar coronal mass ejections: dominance of the free magnetic energy over the magnetic twist alone. Astrophys. J. 644, 1258 – 1272. doi: 10.1086/503699 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Fisher, G.H., Welsch, B.T.: 2008, FLCT: a fast, efficient method for performing local correlation tracking. In: Howe, R., Komm, R.W., Balasubramaniam, K.S., Petrie, G.J.D. (eds.) Subsurface and Atmospheric Influences on Solar Activity CS-383, Astron. Soc. Pac., San Francisco, 373 – 380; also arXiv:0712.4289 .

    Google Scholar 

  • Forbes, T.G.: 2000, A review on the genesis of coronal mass ejections. J. Geophys. Res. 105, 23153 – 23166.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Gosling, J.T.: 1993, The solar flare myth. J. Geophys. Res. 98(A11), 18937 – 18949.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Hagenaar, H.J., Schrijver, C.J., Title, A.M.: 1997, The distribution of cell sizes of the solar chromospheric network. Astrophys. J. 481, 988 – 995. doi: 10.1086/304066 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Hagenaar, H., Schrijver, C., Title, A., Shine, R.: 1999, Dispersal of magnetic flux in the quiet solar photosphere. Astrophys. J. 511, 932 – 944.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Henney, C.J., Keller, C.U., Harvey, J.W., Georgoulis, M.K., Hadder, N.L., Norton, A.A., Raouafi, N., Toussaint, R.M.: 2009, SOLIS vector spectromagnetograph: status and science. In: Berdyugina, S.V., Nagendra, K.N., Ramelli, R. (eds.) Solar Polarization 5: In Honor of Jan Olof Stenflo CS-405, Astron. Soc. Pac., San Francisco, 47 – 50.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hudson, H.S., Li, Y.: 2010, Flare and CME properties and rates at sunspot minimum. In: Cranmer, S.R., Hoeksema, J.T., Kohl, J.L. (eds.) SOHO 23: Understanding a Peculiar Solar Minimum CS-428, Astron. Soc. Pac., San Francisco, 153 – 162.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kusano, K., Maeshiro, T., Yokoyama, T., Sakurai, T.: 2002, Measurement of magnetic helicity injection and free energy loading into the solar corona. Astrophys. J. 577, 501 – 512.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Leka, K.D., Barnes, G.: 2007, Photospheric magnetic field properties of flaring versus flare-quiet active regions. IV. A statistically significant sample. Astrophys. J. 656, 1173 – 1186.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Li, Y., Lynch, B.J., Welsch, B.T., Stenborg, G.A., Luhmann, J.G., Fisher, G.H., Liu, Y., Nightingale, R.W.: 2010, Sequential coronal mass ejections from AR8038 in May 1997. Solar Phys. 264, 149 – 164. doi: 10.1007/s11207-010-9547-y .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Lin, H., Kuhn, J.R., Coulter, R.: 2004, Coronal magnetic field measurements. Astrophys. J. Lett. 613, L177 – L180. doi: 10.1086/425217 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Lin, R.P., Dennis, B.R., Hurford, G.J., Smith, D.M., Zehnder, A., Harvey, P.R., Curtis, D.W., Pankow, D., Turin, P., Bester, M., Csillaghy, A., Lewis, M., Madden, N., van Beek, H.F., Appleby, M., Raudorf, T., McTiernan, J., Ramaty, R., Schmahl, E., Schwartz, R., Krucker, S., Abiad, R., Quinn, T., Berg, P., Hashii, M., Sterling, R., Jackson, R., Pratt, R., Campbell, R.D., Malone, D., Landis, D., Barrington-Leigh, C.P., Slassi-Sennou, S., Cork, C., Clark, D., Amato, D., Orwig, L., Boyle, R., Banks, I.S., Shirey, K., Tolbert, A.K., Zarro, D., Snow, F., Thomsen, K., Henneck, R., McHedlishvili, A., Ming, P., Fivian, M., Jordan, J., Wanner, R., Crubb, J., Preble, J., Matranga, M., Benz, A., Hudson, H., Canfield, R.C., Holman, G.D., Crannell, C., Kosugi, T., Emslie, A.G., Vilmer, N., Brown, J.C., Johns-Krull, C., Aschwanden, M., Metcalf, T., Conway, A.: 2002, The Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). Solar Phys. 210, 3 – 32. doi: 10.1023/A:1022428818870 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Linker, J.A., Mikić, Z., Lionello, R., Riley, P., Amari, T., Odstrcil, D.: 2003, Flux cancellation and coronal mass ejections. Phys. Plasmas 10, 1971 – 1978. doi: 10.1063/1.1563668 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Liu, Y.: 2007, Halo coronal mass ejections and configuration of the ambient magnetic fields. Astrophys. J. Lett. 654, L171 – L174. doi: 10.1086/511385 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Liu, Y., Norton, A.A., Scherrer, P.H.: 2007, A note on saturation seen in the MDI/SOHO magnetograms. Solar Phys. 241, 185 – 193. doi: 10.1007/s11207-007-0296-5 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Livi, S.H.B., Wang, J., Martin, S.F.: 1985, The cancellation of magnetic flux. I – On the quiet Sun. Aust. J. Phys. 38, 855 – 873.

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Longcope, D.W., McKenzie, D., Cirtain, J., Scott, J.: 2005, Observations of separator reconnection to an emerging active region. Astrophys. J. 630, 596 – 614.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Low, B.C.: 2001, Coronal mass ejections, magnetic flux ropes, and solar magnetism. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 25141 – 25164. doi: 10.1029/2000JA004015 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Martin, S.F.: 1998, Conditions for the formation and maintenance of filaments (Invited Review). Solar Phys. 182, 107 – 137.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Pariat, E., Demoulin, P., Berger, M.A.: 2005, Photospheric flux density of magnetic helicity. Astron. Astrophys. 439, 1191 – 1203. doi: 10.1051/0004-6361:20052663 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Parnell, C.E., Deforest, C.E., Hagenaar, H.J., Johnston, B.A., Lamb, D.A., Welsch, B.T.: 2009, A power-law distribution of solar magnetic fields over more than five decades in flux. Astrophys. J. 698, 75 – 82.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Petrie, G.J.D., Canou, A., Amari, T.: 2011, Nonlinear force-free and potential-field models of active-region and global coronal fields during the whole heliosphere interval. Solar Phys. doi: 10.1007/s11207-010-9687-0 .

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  • Pevtsov, A.A., Canfield, R.C., McClymont, A.N.: 1997, On the subphotospheric origin of coronal electric currents. Astrophys. J. 481, 973 – 977.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Qiu, J., Yurchyshyn, V.B.: 2005, Magnetic reconnection flux and coronal mass ejection velocity. Astrophys. J. Lett. 634, L121 – L124. doi: 10.1086/498716 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Scherrer, P., Bogart, R.S., Bush, R.I., Hoeksema, J.T., Kosovichev, A., Schou, J., Rosenberg, W., Springer, L., Tarbell, T., Title, A., Wolfson, C., Zayer, I., The MDI Engineering Team: 1995, The solar oscillations investigation – Michelson Doppler imager. Solar Phys. 162, 129 – 188.

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Schrijver, C.J.: 2007, A characteristic magnetic field pattern associated with all major solar flares and its use in flare forecasting. Astrophys. J. Lett. 655, L117 – L120. doi: 10.1086/511857 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Schrijver, C.J.: 2009, Driving major solar flares and eruptions: A review. Adv. Space Res. 43, 739 – 755. doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2008.11.004 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Schrijver, C.J., DeRosa, M.L., Title, A.M., Metcalf, T.R.: 2005, The nonpotentiality of active-region coronae and the dynamics of the photospheric magnetic field. Astrophys. J. 628, 501 – 513.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Schuck, P.W.: 2006, Tracking magnetic footpoints with the magnetic induction equation. Astrophys. J. 646, 1358 – 1391. doi: 10.1086/505015 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Schuck, P.W.: 2008, Tracking vector magnetograms with the magnetic induction equation. Astrophys. J. 683, 1134 – 1152. doi: 10.1086/589434 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Sterling, A.C., Moore, R.L.: 2001, Internal and external reconnection in a series of homologous solar flares. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 25227 – 25238. doi: 10.1029/2000JA004001 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Tomczyk, S., McIntosh, S.W.: 2009, Time-distance seismology of the solar corona with CoMP. Astrophys. J. 697, 1384 – 1391. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/697/2/1384 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Wang, D., Zhang, M., Li, H., Zhang, H.Q.: 2009, A cross-comparison of cotemporal magnetograms obtained with MDI/SOHO and SP/Hinode. Solar Phys. 260, 233 – 244. doi: 10.1007/s11207-009-9441-7 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Webb, D.F., Cremades, H., Sterling, A.C, Mandrini, C.H., Dasso, S., Gibson, S.E., Haber, D.A., Komm, R.W., Petrie, G.J.D., McIntosh, P.S., Welsch, B.T., Simon, S.P.: 2011, The global context of solar activity during the whole heliosphere interval campaign. Solar Phys. submitted.

  • Welsch, B.T.: 2006, Magnetic flux cancellation and coronal magnetic energy. Astrophys. J. 638, 1101 – 1109.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Welsch, B.T., Fisher, G.H.: 2008, Surface flows from magnetograms. In: Howe, R., Komm, R.W., Balasubramaniam, K.S., Petrie, G.J.D. (eds.) Subsurface and Atmospheric Influences on Solar Activity CS-383, Astron. Soc. Pac., San Francisco, 19 – 30; also arXiv:0710.0546 .

    Google Scholar 

  • Welsch, B.T., Li, Y.: 2008, On the origin of strong-field polarity inversion lines. In: Howe, R., Komm, R.W., Balasubramaniam, K.S., Petrie, G.J.D. (eds.) Subsurface and Atmospheric Influences on Solar Activity CS-383, Astron. Soc. Pac., San Francisco, 429 – 437; also arXiv:0710.0562 .

    Google Scholar 

  • Welsch, B.T., Longcope, D.W.: 2003, Magnetic helicity injection by horizontal flows in the quiet sun: I. Mutual helicity flux. Astrophys. J. 588, 620 – 629.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Welsch, B.T., Fisher, G.H., Abbett, W.P., Régnier, S.: 2004, ILCT: Recovering photospheric velocities from magnetograms by combining the induction equation with local correlation tracking. Astrophys. J. 610, 1148 – 1156.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Welsch, B.T., Abbett, W.P., DeRosa, M.L., Fisher, G.H., Georgoulis, K., Kusano, M.K., Longcope, D.W., Ravindra, B., Schuck, P.W.: 2007, Tests and comparisons of velocity inversion techniques. Astrophys. J. 670, 1434 – 1452.

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  • Welsch, B.T., Li, Y., Schuck, P.W., Fisher, G.H.: 2009, What is the relationship between photospheric flow fields and solar flares? Astrophys. J. 705, 821 – 843. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/705/1/821 .

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to B. T. Welsch.

Additional information

The Sun–Earth Connection near Solar Minimum

Guest Editors: M.M. Bisi, B. Emery, and B.J. Thompson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Welsch, B.T., Christe, S. & McTiernan, J.M. Photospheric Magnetic Evolution in the WHI Active Regions. Sol Phys 274, 131–157 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-011-9759-9

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-011-9759-9

Keywords

  • Flares, dynamics
  • Helicity, magnetic
  • Magnetic fields, corona