Solar Physics

, Volume 212, Issue 1, pp 23–49 | Cite as

Long-Term Variations in the Solar Differential Rotation

  • J. Javaraiah


Using Greenwich data (1879–1976) and SOON/NOAA data (1977–2002) on sunspot groups we found the following results: (i) The Sun's mean (over all the concerned cycles during 1879–1975) equatorial rotation rate (A) is significantly larger (≈0.1%) in the odd-numbered sunspot cycles (ONSCs) than in the even-numbered sunspot cycles (ENSCs). The mean rotation is significantly (≈10%) more differential in the ONSCs than in the ENSCs. North–south difference in the mean equatorial rotation rate is larger in the ONSCs than in the ENSCs. North–south difference in the mean latitude gradient of the rotation is significant in the ENSCs and insignificant in the ONSCs. (ii) The known very large decrease in A from cycle 13 to cycle 14 is confirmed. The amount of this decrease in the mean A was about 0.017 μrad s−1. Also, we find that A decreased from cycle 17 to cycle 18 by about 0.008 μrad s−1 and from cycle 21 to cycle 22 by about 0.016 μrad s−1. From cycle 13 to cycle 14 the decrease in A was more in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere, it is opposite in the later two epochs. The time gap between the consecutive drops in A is about 44 years, suggesting the existence of a `44-yr' cycle or `double Hale cycle' in A. The time gap between the two large drops, viz., from cycle 13 to cycle 14 and from cycle 21 to cycle 22, is about 90 years (Gleissberg cycle). We predict that the next drop (moderate) in A will be occurring from cycle 25 to cycle 26 and will be followed by a relatively large-amplitude `double Hale cycle' of sunspot activity. (iii) Existence of a 90-yr cycle is seen in the cycle-to-cycle variation of the latitude gradient (B). A weak 22-yr modulation in B seems to be superposed on the relatively strong 90-yr modulation. (iv) The coefficient A varies significantly only during ONSCs and the variation has maximum amplitude in the order of 0.01 μrad s−1 around activity minima. (v) There exists a good anticorrelation between the mean variation of B during the ONSCs and that during the ENSCs, suggesting the existence of a `22-yr' periodicity in B. The maximum amplitude of the variation of B is of the order of 0.05 μrad s−1 around the activity minima. (vi) It seems that the well-known Gnevyshev and Ohl rule of solar activity is applicable also to the cycle-to-cycle amplitude modulation of B from cycle 13 to cycle 20, but the cycles 12 (in the northern hemisphere, Greenwich data) and 21 (in both hemispheres, SOON/NOAA data) seem to violate this rule in B. And (vii) All the aforesaid statistically significant variations in A and B seem to be related to the approximate 179-yr cycle, 1811–1989, of variation in the Sun's motion about the center of mass of the solar system.


Northern Hemisphere Solar Activity Maximum Amplitude Differential Rotation Activity Minimum 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Javaraiah
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of AstrophysicsBangaloreIndia

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