Solar Physics

, Volume 205, Issue 2, pp 371–382 | Cite as

A new pattern for the north–south asymmetry of sunspots

  • E.S. Vernova
  • K. Mursula
  • M.I. Tyasto
  • D.G. Baranov


We study the solar cycle evolution during the last 8 solar cycles using a vectorial sunspot area called the LA (longitudinal asymmetry) parameter. This is a useful measure of solar activity in which the stochastic, longitudinally evenly distributed sunspot activity is reduced and which therefore emphasizes the more systematic, longitudinally asymmetric sunspot activity. Interesting differences are found between the LA parameter and the more conventional sunspot activity indices like the (scalar) sunspot area and the sunspot number. E.g., cycle 19 is not the highest cycle according to LA. We have calculated the separate LA parameters for the northern and southern hemisphere and found a systematic dipolar-type oscillation in the dominating hemisphere during high solar activity times which is reproduced from cycle to cycle. We have analyzed this oscillation during cycles 16–22 by a superposed epoch method using the date of magnetic reversal in the southern hemisphere as the zero epoch time. According to our analysis, the oscillation starts by an excess of the northern LA value in the ascending phase of the solar cycle which lasts for about 2.3 years. Soon after the maximum northern dominance, the southern hemisphere starts dominating, reaching its minimum some 1.2–1.7 years later. The period of southern dominance lasts for about 1.6 years and ends, on an average, slightly before the end of magnetic reversal.


Solar Activity Southern Hemisphere Solar Cycle Activity Time Activity Index 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • E.S. Vernova
    • 1
  • K. Mursula
    • 2
  • M.I. Tyasto
    • 3
  • D.G. Baranov
    • 4
  1. 1.SPb. BranchIZMIRANSt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.University of OuluOuluFinland
  3. 3.SPb. FilialIZMIRANSt.PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.A. F. Ioffe Physical-Technical InstituteSt. PetersburgRussia

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