FLUCTUATIONS OF THE SOLAR DYNAMO OBSERVED IN THE SOLAR WIND AND INTERPLANETARY MAGNETIC FIELD AT 1 AU AND IN THE OUTER HELIOSPHERE

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Abstract

Recent helioseismic observations have found strong fluctuations at a period of about 1.3 years in the rotation speed around the tachocline in the deep solar convection layer. Similar mid-term quasi-periodicities (MTQP; periods between 1–2 years) are known to occur in various solar atmospheric and heliospheric parameters for centuries. Since the deep convection layer is the expected location of the solar magnetic dynamo, its fluctuations could modulate magnetic flux generation and cause related MTQP fluctuations at the solar surface and beyond. Accordingly, it is likely that the heliospheric MTQP periodicities reflect similar changes in solar dynamo activity. Here we study the occurrence of the MTQP periodicities in the near and distant heliosphere in the solar wind speed and interplanetary magnetic field observed by several satellites at 1 AU and by four interplanetary probes (Pioneer 10 and 11 and Voyager 1 and 2) in the outer heliosphere. The overall structure of MTQP fluctuations in the different locations of the heliosphere is very consistent, verifying the solar (not heliospheric) origin of these periodicities. We find that the mid-term periodicities were particularly strong during solar cycle 22 and were observed at two different periods of 1.3 and 1.7 years simultaneously. These periodicities were latitudinally organized so that the 1.3-year periodicity was found in solar wind speed at low latitudes and the 1.7-year periodicity in IMF intensity at mid-latitudes. While all heliospheric results on the 1.3-year periodicity are in a good agreement with helioseismic observations, the 1.7-year periodicity has so far not been detected in helioseismic observations. This may be due to temporal changes or due to the helioseismic method where hemispherically antisymmetric fluctuations would so far have remained hidden. In fact, there is evidence that MTQP fluctuations may occur antisymmetrically in the northern and southern solar hemisphere. Moreover, we note that the MTQP pattern was quite different during solar cycles 21 and 22, implying fundamental differences in solar dynamo action between the two halves of the magnetic cycle.

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