Solar Physics

, Volume 187, Issue 1, pp 89–114 | Cite as

On the origin of solar metric type II bursts

  • Edward W. Cliver
  • David F. Webb
  • Russell A. Howard


The vast majority of solar flares are not associated with metric Type II radio bursts. For example, for the period February 1980–July 1982, corresponding to the first two and one-half years of the Solar Maximum Mission, 95% of the ∼2500 flares with peak >25 keV count rates >100 c s−1lacked associated Type II emission. Even the ∼360 largest flares, i.e., those having >25 keV peak count rates >1000 c s−1, had a Type II association rate of only 24%. The lack of a close correlation between flare size and Type II occurrence implies the need for a 'special condition' that distinguishes flares that are accompanied by metric Type II radio bursts from those of comparable size that are not. The leading candidates for this special condition are: (1) an unusually low Alfvén speed in the flaring region; and (2) fast material motion. We present evidence based on SMM and GOES X-ray data and Solwind coronagraph data that argues against the first of these hypotheses and supports the second. Type II bursts linked to flares within 30° of the solar limb are well associated (64%; 49/76) with fast (>400 km s−1) coronal mass ejections (CMEs); for Type II flares within 15° of the limb, the association rate is 79% (30/38). An examination of the characteristics of 'non-CME' flares associated with Type IIs does not support the flare-initiated blast wave picture that has been proposed for these events and suggests instead that CMEs may have escaped detection. While the degree of Type II–CME association increases with flare size, there are notable cases of small Type II flares whose outstanding attribute is a fast CME. Thus we argue that metric Type II bursts (as well as the Moreton waves and kilometric Type II bursts that may accompany them) have their root cause in fast coronal mass ejections.


Flare Coronal Mass Ejection Blast Wave Radio Burst Association Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward W. Cliver
    • 1
  • David F. Webb
    • 2
  • Russell A. Howard
    • 3
  1. 1.Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, Hanscom Air Force BaseU.S.A.
  2. 2.Institute for Scientific ResearchBoston CollegeChestnut HillU.S.A.
  3. 3.E.O. Hulburt Center for Space Research, U.S. Naval Research LaboratoryWashington, DC U.S.A.

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