Articles | Volume 34, issue 12
Ann. Geophys., 34, 1159–1164, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-34-1159-2016
Ann. Geophys., 34, 1159–1164, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-34-1159-2016

Regular paper 06 Dec 2016

Regular paper | 06 Dec 2016

Spectral analysis of auroral geomagnetic activity during various solar cycles between 1960 and 2014

Pieter Benjamin Kotzé Pieter Benjamin Kotzé
  • South African National Space Agency (SANSA), Space Science, Hermanus, South Africa

Abstract. In this paper we use wavelets and Lomb–Scargle spectral analysis techniques to investigate the changing pattern of the different harmonics of the 27-day solar rotation period of the AE (auroral electrojet) index during various phases of different solar cycles between 1960 and 2014. Previous investigations have revealed that the solar minimum of cycles 23–24 exhibited strong 13.5- and 9.0-day recurrence in geomagnetic data in comparison to the usual dominant 27.0-day synodic solar rotation period. Daily mean AE indices are utilized to show how several harmonics of the 27-day recurrent period change during every solar cycle subject to a 95 % confidence rule by performing a wavelet analysis of each individual year's AE indices. Results show that particularly during the solar minimum of 23–24 during 2008 the 27-day period is no longer detectable above the 95 % confidence level. During this interval geomagnetic activity is now dominated by the second (13.5-day) and third (9.0-day) harmonics. A Pearson correlation analysis between AE and various spherical harmonic coefficients describing the solar magnetic field during each Carrington rotation period confirms that the solar dynamo has been dominated by an unusual combination of sectorial harmonic structure during 23–24, which can be responsible for the observed anomalously low solar activity. These findings clearly show that, during the unusual low-activity interval of 2008, auroral geomagnetic activity was predominantly driven by high-speed solar wind streams originating from multiple low-latitude coronal holes distributed at regular solar longitude intervals.

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Short summary
We use wavelets and Lomb–Scargle spectral analysis techniques to investigate the changing pattern of the different harmonics of the 27-day solar rotation period of the AE index during various phases of different solar cycles between 1960 and 2014. Results show that, particularly during the solar minimum of 23–24 in 2008, the 27-day period is no longer detectable above the 95 % CI, while auroral geomagnetic activity is now dominated by the second (13.5-day) and third (9.0-day) harmonics.