Articles | Volume 22, issue 12
22 Dec 2004
 | 22 Dec 2004

Oscillations in the open solar magnetic flux with a period of 1.68 years: imprint on galactic cosmic rays and implications for heliospheric shielding

A. Rouillard and M. Lockwood

Abstract. An understanding of how the heliosphere modulates galactic cosmic ray (GCR) fluxes and spectra is important, not only for studies of their origin, acceleration and propagation in our galaxy, but also for predicting their effects (on technology and on the Earth's environment and organisms) and for interpreting abundances of cosmogenic isotopes in meteorites and terrestrial reservoirs. In contrast to the early interplanetary measurements, there is growing evidence for a dominant role in GCR shielding of the total open magnetic flux, which emerges from the solar atmosphere and enters the heliosphere. In this paper, we relate a strong 1.68-year oscillation in GCR fluxes to a corresponding oscillation in the open solar magnetic flux and infer cosmic-ray propagation paths confirming the predictions of theories in which drift is important in modulating the cosmic ray flux.

Key words. Interplanetary physics (Cosmic rays, Interplanetary magnetic fields)