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Paper: On the Origin of Strong-Field Polarity Inversion Lines
Volume: 383, Subsurface and Atmospheric Influences on Solar Activity
Page: 429
Authors: Welsch, B.T.; Li, Y.
Abstract: Several studies correlated observations of impulsive solar activity —flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs)—with the amount of magnetic flux near strong-field polarity inversion lines (PILs) in active regions’ photospheric magnetic fields, as measured in line-of-sight (LOS) magnetograms. Practically, this empirical correlation holds promise as a space weather forecasting tool. Scientifically, however, the mechanisms that generate strong gradients in photospheric magnetic fields remain unknown. Hypotheses include: the (1) emergence of highly twisted or kinked flux ropes, which possess strong, opposite-polarity fields in close proximity; (2) emergence of new flux in close proximity to old flux; and (3) flux cancellation driven by photospheric flows acting fields that have already emerged. If such concentrations of flux near strong gradients are formed by emergence, then increases in unsigned flux near strong gradients should be correlated with increases in total unsigned magnetic flux — a signature of emergence. Here, we analyze time series of MDI line-of-sight (LOS) magnetograms from several dozen active regions, and conclude that increases in unsigned flux near strong gradients tend to occur during emergence, though strong gradients can arise without flux emergence. We acknowledge support from NSF-ATM 04-51438.
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