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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 33, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 33, 31–37, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-33-31-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 33, 31–37, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-33-31-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 09 Jan 2015

Regular paper | 09 Jan 2015

Spectrum analysis of short-period K index behaviour at high and mid-latitudes

P. B. Kotzé P. B. Kotzé
  • South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Space Science, P.O. Box 32, Hermanus 7200, South Africa

Abstract. Geomagnetic activity levels during the declining phase and solar minimum period of the solar cycle are considerably different from those during the solar maximum phase. Previous studies revealed variations in the pattern of recurrent activity from cycle to cycle as well as variations in the average geomagnetic activity levels during a solar cycle. During the declining phase of a solar cycle (and solar minimum), the solar and interplanetary causes of geomagnetic activity are substantially different from those during the solar maximum phase. Co-rotating fast solar wind streams originating from large polar coronal holes, extending towards the Sun's equator, interact with the Earth's magnetosphere, resulting in recurrent geomagnetic activity particularly during solar cycle minimum periods. This is a well-known phenomenon with respect to 27.0- and 13.5-day recurrence geomagnetic activity, and it is well-known to be related to sectorial (non-axial) poloidal magnetic field structure in the Sun. Published results of the recent solar-cycle-23 minimum showed that the presence of 9.0- and 6.7-day recurrent geomagnetic activities can be attributed to the sectorial spherical harmonic structure present in the solar magnetic field. In this study we performed a wavelet and Lomb–Scargle analysis of the geomagnetic activity K index at Lerwick (LER), Hermanus (HER) and Canberra (CNB) for the period between 1960 and 2010, overlapping with solar cycles 20 to 23. Daily mean K indices are used to identify how several harmonics of the 27.0-day recurrent period change during each solar cycle when comparing high and mid-latitude geomagnetic activity, applying a 95% confidence level. In particular the behaviour of the second (13.5-day), third (9.0-day) and fourth (6.7-day) harmonics are investigated by doing a wavelet analysis of each individual year's K indices at each location. Results obtained show that particularly during solar minima the 27.0-day period is no longer detectable above the 95% confidence level, and that geomagnetic activity is in fact dominated by higher harmonics like 13.5-, 9.0- and 6.7-day periods. These findings in fact are in line with previous investigations and confirm the results obtained by researchers using other geomagnetic activity indices like \textit{aa} and C9. The wavelet-spectrum analysis also reveals that during the downward phase of cycle 23 and the very long minimum of 23–24 between 2002 and 2008, the 27.0-day activity period drops below the 95% confidence level. This is confirmed by Lomb–Scargle analyses of every year's K index activity. Results obtained in this study support evidence by other investigations that this can be attributed to the lack of coronal-mass ejection (CME)-dominated solar activity during solar minima, periods characterized by strong solar dipolar magnetic fields, less sunspot numbers than at solar maxima, and multiple prominent co-rotating solar wind streams present. This analysis further confirms previous studies by other authors that the pattern of recurrent activity is dictated by the configuration of coronal holes which give rise to related high-speed streams during a solar cycle by analysing K indices at both high- and mid-latitude magnetic observatories.

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In this study we performed a wavelet and Lomb-Scargle analysis of the geomagnetic activity K-index at Lerwick (LER), Hermanus (HER) and Canberra (CNB) for the period between 1960 and 2010, overlapping with solar cycles 20 to 23. Daily mean K indices are used to identify how several harmonics of the 27.0-day recurrent period change during each solar cycle when comparing high- and mid-latitude geomagnetic activity, applying a 95% confidence level.
In this study we performed a wavelet and Lomb-Scargle analysis of the geomagnetic activity...
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