Volume 586, February 2016
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||27 January 2016|
Surface flux transport simulations: Effect of inflows toward active regions and random velocities on the evolution of the Sun’s large-scale magnetic field
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 Institut für Astrophysik, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Received: 19 August 2015
Accepted: 20 November 2015
Aims. We aim to determine the effect of converging flows on the evolution of a bipolar magnetic region (BMR), and to investigate the role of these inflows in the generation of poloidal flux. We also discuss whether the flux dispersal due to turbulent flows can be described as a diffusion process.
Methods. We developed a simple surface flux transport model based on point-like magnetic concentrations. We tracked the tilt angle, the magnetic flux and the axial dipole moment of a BMR in simulations with and without inflows and compared the results. To test the diffusion approximation, simulations of random walk dispersal of magnetic features were compared against the predictions of the diffusion treatment.
Results. We confirm the validity of the diffusion approximation to describe flux dispersal on large scales. We find that the inflows enhance flux cancellation, but at the same time affect the latitudinal separation of the polarities of the bipolar region. In most cases the latitudinal separation is limited by the inflows, resulting in a reduction of the axial dipole moment of the BMR. However, when the initial tilt angle of the BMR is small, the inflows produce an increase in latitudinal separation that leads to an increase in the axial dipole moment in spite of the enhanced flux destruction. This can give rise to a tilt of the BMR even when the BMR was originally aligned parallel to the equator.
Key words: Sun: activity / Sun: photosphere
© ESO, 2016
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