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Journal Article

Solar Cycle Occurrence of Alfvénic Fluctuations and Related Geo-Efficiency


Käpylä,  Maarit J.
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Research Group in Solar and Stellar Magnetic Activity, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Tanskanen, E., Snekvik, K., Slavin, J., Pérez-Suárez, D., Viljanen, A., Goldstein, M., et al. (2017). Solar Cycle Occurrence of Alfvénic Fluctuations and Related Geo-Efficiency. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122(10), 9848-9857. doi:10.1002/2017JA024385.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-1AF1-2
We examine solar wind intervals with Alfvénic fluctuations (ALFs) in 1995–2011. The annual number, the total annual duration, and the average length of ALFs vary over the solar cycle, having a maximum in 2003 and a minimum in 2009. ALFs are most frequent in the declining phase of solar cycle, when the number of high-speed streams at the Earth's vicinity is increased. There is a rapid transition after the maximum of solar cycle 23 from ALFs being mainly embedded in slow solar wind (<400 km/s) until 2002 to ALFs being dominantly in fast solar wind (>600 km/s) since 2003. Cross helicity increased by 30% from 2002 to 2003 and maximized typically 4–6 h before solar wind speed maximum. Cross helicity remained elevated for several days for highly Alfvénic non-ICME streams, but only for a few hours for ICMEs. The number of substorms increased by about 40% from 2002 to 2003, and the annual number of substorms closely follows the annual cross helicity. This further emphasizes the role of Alfvénic fluctuations in modulating substorm activity. The predictability of substorm frequency and size would be greatly improved by monitoring solar wind Alfvénic fluctuations in addition to the mean values of the important solar wind parameters.