University of Oulu

Takalo, J. Separating the aa-index into Solar and Hale Cycle Related Components Using Principal Component Analysis. Sol Phys 296, 80 (2021).

Separating the aa-index into solar and hale cycle related components using principal component analysis

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Author: Takalo, Jouni1
Organizations: 1Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, POB 3000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-07


We decompose the monthly aa-index of Cycles 10 to 23 using principal component analysis (PCA). We show that the first component (PC1) is related to the 11-year solar cycle, and accounts for 41.5% of the variance of the data. The second component (PC2) is related to 22-year Hale cycle, and explains 23.6% of the variance of the data. The PC1 time series of the aa-index for Cycles 10 – 23 has only one peak in its power spectrum at the period 10.95 years, which is the average solar cycle (SC) period for the interval SC10 – SC23. The PC2 time series of the same cycles has a clear peak at period 21.90 (Hale cycle) and a smaller peak at 3/4 of that period. We also study the principal components of the sunspot number (SSN) for Cycles 10 – 23, and compare the mutual behavior of the PC2 components of the aa-index and SSN PCA analyses. We note that they are in the same phase in all other cycles but Solar Cycles 15 and 20. The aa-index of Cycle 20 also differs from other even aa-index cycles in its shape, especially in anomalously high peaks during its descending phase. Even though there is a coherence in the PC2 time series phases of the aa-index and sunspot number, this effect is too small to be the origin of all the differences between the shape of even and odd aa cycles. We estimate that 30% of the shape of the PC2 component of the aa-index is due to the shape of the PC2 of the sunspot number and the rest to other recurrent events in the Sun and solar wind. The first maximum of the aa-index (typical to odd cycles), during sunspot maximum, has been shown to be related to coronal mass ejections (CME), while the second maximum (typical to even cycles) in the cycle descending phase, is probably related to high-speed streams (HSS). The last events increase the activity level such that the minimum between even and odd cycle pairs is always higher than the minimum between succeeding odd and even cycle pairs.

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Series: Solar physics
ISSN: 0038-0938
ISSN-E: 1573-093X
ISSN-L: 0038-0938
Volume: 296
Issue: 5
Article number: 80
DOI: 10.1007/s11207-021-01825-1
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
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