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Mike Wheatland   Submitted: 2008-02-26 16:45

A stochastic model for the energy of a flaring solar active region is presented, generalising and extending the approach of Wheatland & Glukhov (1998). The probability distribution for the free energy of an active region is described by the solution to a master equation involving deterministic energy input and random jump transitions downwards in energy (solar flares). It is shown how two observable distributions, the flare frequency-energy distribution and the flare waiting-time distribution, may be derived from the steady-state solution to the master equation, for given choices for the energy input and for the rates of flare transitions. An efficient method of numerical solution of the steady-state master equation is presented. Solutions appropriate for flaring, involving a constant rate of energy input and power-law distributed jump transition rates, are numerically investigated. The flare-like solutions exhibit power-law flare frequency-energy distributions below a high energy rollover, set by the largest energy the active region is likely to have. The solutions also exhibit approximately exponential (i.e. Poisson) waiting-time distributions, despite the rate of flaring depending on the free energy of the system.

Authors: M.S. Wheatland
Projects: None

Publication Status: To appear in the Astrophysical Journal
Last Modified: 2008-09-23 21:22
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