Vol 18, No 3

A quantity characterizing variation of observed magnetic twist in solar active regions

Yu Gao


Abstract An alternative parameter RJz is introduced as the ratio of one of two kinds of opposite-sign current to the total current and is used to investigate the relationship between this quantity and the hemi-spheric helicity sign rule (HSR) that has been established by a series of previous statistical studies. The classification of current in each hemisphere obeys the following rule: if the product of the current and the corresponding longitudinal field component contributes a consistent sign with respect to the HSR, it is called “HSR-compliant” current, otherwise it is called “HSR-noncompliant” current. Firstly, consistency between the butterfly diagram of RJz and current helicity was obtained in a statistical study. Active regions with RJz smaller than 0.5 tend to obey the HSR whereas those with RJz greater than 0.5 tend to disobey it. The “HSR-compliant” current systems have a 60% probability of realization compared to 40% for “HSR-noncompliant” current systems. Overall, the HSR is violated for active regions in which the “HSR-noncompliant” current is greater than the “HSR-compliant” current. Secondly, the parameter RJz was subsequently used to study the evolution of current systems in the case analyses of flare-productive active regions NOAA AR 11158 and AR 11283. It is found that there is a “RJz -quasi-stationary” phase that is relatively flare quiescent and “RJz -dynamic” phase that is characterized by the occurrence of large flares.


Keywords Sun: activity — Sun: flares — Sun: magnetic fields — Sun: evolution — Sun: sunspots

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