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Global Energetics of Solar Flares: I. Magnetic Energies View all abstracts by submitter

Markus J. Aschwanden   Submitted: 2014-10-28 08:46

We present the first part of a project on the global energetics of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that includes about 400 M- and X-class flares observed with AIA and HMI onboard SDO. We calculate the potential (Ep), the nonpotential (Enp) or free energies (Efree =Enp-E_p), and the flare-dissipated magnetic energies (Ediss). We calculate these magnetic parameters using two different NLFFF codes: The COR-NLFFF code uses the line-of-sight magnetic field component Bz from HMI to define the potential field, and the 2D coordinates of automatically detected coronal loops in 6 coronal wavelengths from AIA to measure the helical twist of coronal loops caused by vertical currents, while the PHOT-NLFFF code extrapolates the photospheric 3D vector fields. We find agreement between the two codes in the measurement of free energies and dissipated energies within a factor of ≈ 3. The size distributions of magnetic parameters exhibit powerlaw slopes that are approximately consistent with the fractal-diffusive self-organized criticality model. The magnetic parameters exhibit scaling laws for the nonpotential energy, Enp ∝ E_p1.02, for the free energy, Efree ∝ E_p1.7 and Efree ∝ Bϕ1.0 L1.5, for the dissipated energy, Ediss ∝ E_p1.6 and Ediss ∝ Efree0.9, and the energy dissipation volume, V ∝ Ediss1.2. The potential energies vary in the range of E_p = 1 x 1031 - 4 x 1033 erg, while the free energy has a ratio of Efree/E_p ≈ 1%-25%. The Poynting flux amounts to Fflare ≈ 5 x 108 - 1010 erg cm-2 s-1 during flares, which averages to FAR ≈ 6 x 106 erg cm-2 s-1 during the entire observation period and is comparable with the coronal heating rate requirement in active regions.

Authors: Markus J. Aschwanden, Yan Xu, and Ju Jing
Projects: SDO-HMI

Publication Status: ApJ (accepted 2014-oct-28, in press)
Last Modified: 2014-10-28 13:37
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