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Solar east-west flow correlations that persist for months at low latitudes are dominated by active region inflows

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Duvall,  Thomas
Department Solar and Stellar Interiors, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Birch,  Aaron
Department Solar and Stellar Interiors, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Gizon,  Laurent
Department Solar and Stellar Interiors, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Hanson, C. S., Duvall, T., Birch, A., Gizon, L., & Sreenivasan, K. R. (2020). Solar east-west flow correlations that persist for months at low latitudes are dominated by active region inflows. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 644: A103. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202039108.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-B352-2
Abstract
Context. Giant-cell convection is believed to be an important component of solar dynamics. For example, it is expected to play a crucial role in maintaining the Sun's differential rotation.Aims. We reexamine early reports of giant convective cells detected using a correlation analysis of Dopplergrams. We extend this analysis using 19 years of space- and ground-based observations of near-surface horizontal flows.Methods. Flow maps are derived through the local correlation tracking of granules and helioseismic ring-diagram analysis. We compute temporal auto-correlation functions of the east-west flows at fixed latitude.Results. Correlations in the east-west velocity can be clearly seen up to five rotation periods. The signal consists of features with longitudinal wavenumbers up to m=9 at low latitudes. Comparison with magnetic images indicates that these flow features are associated with magnetic activity. The signal is not seen above the noise level during solar minimum.Conclusions. Our results show that the long-term correlations in east-west flows at low latitudes are predominantly due to inflows into active regions and not to giant convective cells.