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Latitudinal migration of sunspots based on the ESAI database

Juan Zhang, Fu-Yu Li, Wen Feng


The latitudinal migration of sunspots toward the equator, which implies there is propagation of the toroidal magnetic flux wave at the base of the solar convection zone, is one of the crucial observational bases for the solar dynamo to generate a magnetic field by shearing of the pre-existing poloidal magnetic field through differential rotation. The Extended time series of Solar Activity Indices (ESAI) elongated the Greenwich observation record of sunspots by several decades in the past. In this study, ESAI’s yearly mean latitude of sunspots in the northern and southern hemispheres during the years 1854 to 1985 is utilized to statistically test whether hemispherical latitudinal migration of sunspots in a solar cycle is linear or nonlinear. It is found that a quadratic function is statistically significantly better at describing hemispherical latitudinal migration of sunspots in a solar cycle than a linear function. In addition, the latitude migration velocity of sunspots in a solar cycle decreases as the cycle progresses, providing a particular constraint for solar dynamo models. Indeed, the butterfly wing pattern with a faster latitudinal migration rate should present stronger solar activity with a shorter cycle period, and it is located at higher latitudinal position, giving evidence to support the Babcock-Leighton dynamo mechanism.


Sun: activity — Sun: general — Sun: sunspots — methods: data analysis

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