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On Polar Magnetic Field Reversal and Surface Flux Transport During Solar Cycle 24 View all abstracts by submitter

Xudong Sun   Submitted: 2014-11-03 14:53

As each solar cycle progresses, remnant magnetic flux from active regions (ARs) migrates poleward to cancel the old-cycle polar field. We describe this polarity reversal process during Cycle 24 using four years (2010.33-2014.33) of line-of-sight magnetic field measurements from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. The total flux associated with ARs reached maximum in the north in 2011, more than two years earlier than the south; the maximum is significantly weaker than Cycle 23. The process of polar field reversal is relatively slow, north-south asymmetric, and episodic. We estimate that the global axial dipole changed sign in October 2013; the northern and southern polar fields (mean above 60 degrees latitude) reversed in November 2012 and March 2014, respectively, about 16 months apart. Notably, the poleward surges of flux in each hemisphere alternated in polarity, giving rise to multiple reversals in the north. We show that the surges of the trailing sunspot polarity tend to correspond to normal mean AR tilt, higher total AR flux, or slower mid-latitude near-surface meridional flow, while exceptions occur during low magnetic activity. In particular, the AR flux and the mid-latitude poleward flow speed exhibit a clear anti-correlation. We discuss how these features can be explained in a surface flux transport process that includes a field-dependent converging flow toward the ARs, a characteristic that may contribute to solar cycle variability.

Authors: Xudong Sun, J. Todd Hoeksema, Yang Liu, Junwei Zhao
Projects: SDO-HMI

Publication Status: ApJ (in press)
Last Modified: 2014-11-05 11:49
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