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An Alternative Interpretation of the Relationship between the Inferred Open Solar Flux and the Interplanetary Magnetic FieldPhotospheric observations at the Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) represent an uninterrupted data set of 32 years and are therefore unique for modeling variations in the magnetic structure of the corona and inner heliosphere over three solar cycles. For many years, modelers have applied a latitudinal correction factor to these data, believing that it provided a better estimate of the line-of-sight magnetic field. Its application was defended by arguing that the computed open flux matched observations of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) significantly better than the original WSO correction factor. However, no physically based argument could be made for its use. In this Letter we explore the implications of using the constant correction factor on the value and variation of the computed open solar flux and its relationship to the measured IMF. We find that it does not match the measured IMF at 1 AU except at and surrounding solar minimum. However, we argue that interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) may provide sufficient additional magnetic flux to the extent that a remarkably good match is found between the sum of the computed open flux and inferred ICME flux and the measured flux at 1 AU. If further substantiated, the implications of this interpretation may be significant, including a better understanding of the structure and strength of the coronal field and I N providing constraints for theories of field line transport in the corona, the modulation of galactic cosmic rays, and even possibly terrestrial climate effects.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Riley, Pete (Science Applications International Corp. San Diego, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
September 20, 2007
Publication Information
Publication: Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 667
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits