Title: What Makes the Solar Cycle Tick? Improving prediction through a better Understanding the Evolution of the
Polar Magnetic Flux. |
Type of Project: Simulation
Interest in solar cycle simulations and the improvement of solar cycle predictions. Good proficiency with Matlab and experience programming in a
low-level language (like Fortran or C) are necessary. One of the mentors will be local and one will be largely available via Skype telecons. The
interested student needs to feel comfortable with this arrangement.
Mentor: Dr. Andres Munoz-Jaramillo and Dr. Ed DeLuca
The solar cycle and its associated magnetic activity are the main drivers behind changes in the interplanetary environment and the Earth's upper
atmosphere (commonly referred to as space weather). These changes have a direct impact on the lifetime of space-based assets and can create
hazards to astronauts in space. In recent years there has been an effort to develop accurate solar cycle predictions (with aims at predicting
the long-term evolution of space weather), with a wide range of studies pointing at the crucial role of the solar polar fields during solar
minimum as the seed of the solar cycle. So far, cycle predictions have focused on solar maximum conditions; however, the factors determining
conditions are solar minimum are still poorly understood.
In this project, the student will perform simulations of the solar magnetic field using different distributions of sunspots and model parameters
as inputs. He/she will learn about the evolution of the solar cycle and will help determine the different factors which determine the strength of
the polar flux at solar minimum. This will pave the way for a new generation of better and more effective cycle predictions.
Figure: (Left) Snapshot of the simulated solar magnetic field at the beginning of the cycle. (Right) Evolution of the simulated solar magnetic
at the solar surface showing the emergence of sunspots and decay of their associated magnetic field; leading to the accumulation of flux inside
the polar crowns.