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Are Decaying Magnetic Fields Above Active Regions Related to Coronal Mass Ejection Onset? View all abstracts by submitter

Jeren Suzuki   Submitted: 2012-11-20 01:38

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are powered by magnetic energy stored in non-potential (current-carrying) coronal magnetic fields, with the pre-CME field in balance between outward magnetic pressure of the proto-ejecta and inward magnetic tension from overlying fields that confine the proto-ejecta. In studies of global potential (current-free) models of coronal magnetic fields -- Potential Field Source Surface (PFSS) models -- it has been reported that model field strengths above flare sites tend to be weaker in when CMEs occur than when eruptions fail to occur. This suggests that potential field models might be useful to quantify magnetic confinement. One straightforward implication of this idea is that a decrease in model field strength overlying a possible eruption site should correspond to diminished confinement, implying an eruption is more likely. We have searched for such an effect by {em post facto} investigation of the time evolution of model field strengths above a sample of 10 eruption sites. To check if the strengths of overlying fields were relevant only in relatively slow CMEs, we included both slow and fast CMEs in our sample. In most events we study, we find no statistically significant evolution in either: (i) the rate of magnetic field decay with height; (ii) the strength of overlying magnetic fields near 50 Mm; (iii) or the ratio of fluxes at low and high altitudes (below 1.1Rodot, and between 1.1-1.5Rodot, respectively). We did observe a tendency for overlying field strengths and overlying flux to increase slightly, and their rates of decay with height to become slightly more gradual, consistent with increased confinement. The fact that CMEs occur regardless of whether the parameters we use to quantify confinement are increasing or decreasing suggests that either: (i) the parameters that we derive from PFSS models do not accurately characterize the actual large-scale field in CME source regions; or (ii) systematic evolution in the large-scale magnetic environment of CME source regions is not, by itself, a necessary condition for CMEs to occur; or both.

Authors: Jeren Suzuki, Brian T. Welsch, Yan Li
Projects: None

Publication Status: Published
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 20:24
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