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Photospheric Magnetic Evolution in the WHI Active Regions

By B. T. Welsch, J. M. McTiernan and S. Christe


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

Topics: Solar Physics
Year: 2012
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