The cause of the weak solar cycle 24
MPI for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany
Main category
Natural Sciences (Astrophysics and Astrononmy)
The ongoing 11-year cycle of solar activity is considerably less vigorous than the three cycles before. It was preceded by a very deep activity minimum with a low polar magnetic flux, the source of the toroidal field responsible for solar magnetic activity in the subsequent cycle. Simulation of the evolution of the solar surface field shows that the weak polar fields and thus the weakness of the present cycle 24 are mainly caused by a number of bigger bipolar regions with a ‘wrong’ (i.e., opposite to the majority for this cycle) orientation of their magnetic polarities in the North- South direction, which impaired the growth of the polar field. These reg ions had a particularly strong effect since they emerged within ±10° latitude from the solar equator.
Further information
Further reading
Jiang et al., Astrophysical Journal, 808, L28 (2015)
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