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By H. M. Antia, Sarbani Basu and S. M. Chitre


Available helioseismic data now span almost the entire solar activity cycle 23 making it possible to study solar-cycle related changes of the solar rotation rate in detail. In this paper we study how the solar rotation rate, in particular, the zonal flows change with time. In addition to the zonal flows that show a well known pattern in the solar convection zone, we also study changes in the radial and latitudinal gradients of the rotation rate, particularly in the shear layer that is present in the immediate sub-surface layers of the Sun. In the case of the zonal-flow pattern, we find that the band indicating fast rotating region close to the equator seems to have bifurcated around 2005. Our investigation of the rotation-rate gradients show that the relative variation in the rotation-rate gradients is about 20 % or more of their average values, which is much larger than the relative variation in the rotation rate itself. These results can be used to test predictions of various solar dynamo models

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