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Magnetic flux rope identification and characterization from observationally driven solar coronal models.

Lowder, Chris and Yeates, Anthony (2017) 'Magnetic flux rope identification and characterization from observationally driven solar coronal models.', Astrophysical journal., 846 (2). p. 106.

Abstract

Formed through magnetic field shearing and reconnection in the solar corona, magnetic flux ropes are structures of twisted magnetic field, threaded along an axis. Their evolution and potential eruption are of great importance for space weather. Here we describe a new methodology for the automated detection of flux ropes in simulated magnetic fields, utilizing field-line helicity. Our Flux Rope Detection and Organization (FRoDO) code, which measures the magnetic flux and helicity content of pre-erupting flux ropes over time, as well as detecting eruptions, is publicly available. As a first demonstration, the code is applied to the output from a time-dependent magnetofrictional model, spanning 1996 June 15–2014 February 10. Over this period, 1561 erupting and 2099 non-erupting magnetic flux ropes are detected, tracked, and characterized. For this particular model data, erupting flux ropes have a mean net helicity magnitude of $2.66\times {10}^{43}$ Mx2, while non-erupting flux ropes have a significantly lower mean of $4.04\times {10}^{42}$ Mx2, although there is overlap between the two distributions. Similarly, the mean unsigned magnetic flux for erupting flux ropes is $4.04\times {10}^{21}$ Mx, significantly higher than the mean value of $7.05\times {10}^{20}$ Mx for non-erupting ropes. These values for erupting flux ropes are within the broad range expected from observational and theoretical estimates, although the eruption rate in this particular model is lower than that of observed coronal mass ejections. In the future, the FRoDO code will prove to be a valuable tool for assessing the performance of different non-potential coronal simulations and comparing them with observations.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aa86b1
Publisher statement:© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:14 August 2017
Date deposited:16 August 2017
Date of first online publication:07 September 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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