A.L. Aruliah, A.D. Farmer, T.J. Fuller-Rowell, M.N. Wild, M. Hapgood, and D. Rees. An equinoctial asymmetry in the high-latitude thermosphere and ionosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research, 101(A7):15713–15722, July 1996. [ bib | http ]
A large equinoctial asymmetry has been observed in thermospheric winds and ion velocities at high latitude sites in northern Scandinavia. Throughout the solar cycle, average nighttime thermospheric meridional winds are larger in spring than autumn despite similar levels of solar insolation. The average ion velocities are also larger in spring than autumn at solar maximum, but at solar minimum this position is reversed. Numerical simulations of the thermosphere and ionosphere have not predicted such asymmetries because they generally assume forcing functions that are symmetric about the solstices. The proposed explanation lies in the annual and diurnal variation in solar wind-magnetosphere coupling caused by changes in the orientation of the geomagnetic pole, and hence the magnetosphere, with respect to the average orientation of the IMF (the Russell-McPherron effect). This causes a 12-hour phase difference between the times of maximum solar wind-magnetosphere coupling at the two equinoxes. In addition, the orientation of the geomagnetic axis with respect to the average IMF is such that <By*Bz> > 0 for the March equinox and <By*Bz> < 0 for September. This results in a further source of asymmetry of forcing of the high-latitude ionosphere as the result of electric fields associated with the four sign combinations of By and Bz. Several predictions arise from the explanation given: for example, a high-latitude station measuring thermospheric neutral winds in Alaska, 180o in longitude from Kiruna, might be expected to see nighttime thermospheric winds that are larger in the autumn than in the spring.
A.L. Aruliah, J. Schoendorf, A.D. Aylward, and M.N. Wild. Modelling the high-latitude equinoctial asymmetry. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102(A12):27207–27216, 1997. [ bib ]
Fabry-Perot Interferometer measurements of neutral winds and European Incoherent SCATter radar measurements of plasma velocities have shown a significant equinoctial asymmetry in the average behavior of the thermosphere and ionosphere above northern Scandinavia. Existing standard models of the upper atmosphere use forcing functions that are symmetric about the solstices, therefore these observations are unexpected. It is suggested that the asymmetry arises from the diurnal variation in the cross polar cap potential difference (CPCPD) because there is a 12 hour phase difference between the variations at the March and September equinoxes. The variation in the CPCPD is caused by an annual and diurnal variation in the orientation of the magnetosphere with respect to the interplanetary magnetic field. This is known as the Russell-McPherron(R-M) effect. The plausibility of this explanation of the equinoctial asymmetry in thermospheric winds is supported by investigation of the effect of their geomagnetic history, i.e., the repercussions on the winds of the activity levels in the few hours prior to the observation. The consequences of the R-M effect have been simulated in the University College London/Sheffield/Space Environment Laboratory coupled thermosphere-ionosphere model by imposing a diurnally varying high-latitude electric field pattern. The results are used to test the predictions, given in an earlier paper, of the average behavior expected at other high-latitude sites. A corollary to the study is that the evidence presented here implies that the auroral oval may be smaller at solar minimum, which is also unexpected.
C. J. Davis, M. N. Wild, M. Lockwood, and Y. K. Tulunay. Ionospheric and geomagnetic responses to changes in IMF Bz: a superposed epoch study. Annales Geophysicae, 15:217–230, 1997. [ bib | DOI | http | .pdf ]
Superposed epoch studies have been carried out in order to determine the ionospheric response at mid-latitudes to southward turnings of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). This is compared with the geomagnetic response, as seen in the indices Kp, AE and Dst. The solar wind, IMF and geomagnetic data used were hourly averages from the years 1967–1989 and thus cover a full 22-year cycle in the solar magnetic field. These data were divided into subsets, determined by the magnitudes of the southward turnings and the concomitant increase in solar wind pressure. The superposed epoch studies were carried out using the time of the southward turning as time zero. The response of the mid-latitude ionosphere is studied by looking at the F-layer critical frequencies, foF2, from hourly soundings by the Slough ionosonde and their deviation from the monthly median values, δfoF2. For the southward turnings with a change in Bz of δBz>11.5 nT accompanied by a solar wind dynamic pressure P exceeding 5 nPa, the F region critical frequency, foF2, shows a marked decrease, reaching a minimum value about 20 h after the southward turning. This recovers to pre-event values over the subsequent 24 h, on average. The Dst index shows the classic storm-time decrease to about -60 nT. Four days later, the index has still to fully recover and is at about -25 nT. Both the Kp and AE indices show rises before the southward turnings, when the IMF is strongly northward but the solar wind dynamic pressure is enhanced. The average AE index does register a clear isolated pulse (averaging 650 nT for 2 h, compared with a background peak level of near 450 nT at these times) showing enhanced energy deposition at high latitudes in substorms but, like Kp, remains somewhat enhanced for several days, even after the average IMF has returned to zero after 1 day. This AE background decays away over several days as the Dst index recovers, indicating that there is some contamination of the currents observed at the AE stations by the continuing enhanced equatorial ring current. For data averaged over all seasons, the critical frequencies are depressed at Slough by 1.3 MHz, which is close to the lower decile of the overall distribution of δfoF2 values. Taking 30-day periods around summer and winter solstice, the largest depression is 1.6 and 1.2 MHz, respectively. This seasonal dependence is confirmed by a similar study for a Southern Hemisphere station, Argentine Island, giving peak depressions of 1.8 MHz and 0.5 MHz for summer and winter. For the subset of turnings where δBz>11.5 nT and P<= 5 nPa, the response of the geomagnetic indices is similar but smaller, while the change in δfoF2 has all but disappeared. This confirms that the energy deposited at high latitudes, which leads to the geomagnetic and ionospheric disturbances following a southward turning of the IMF, increases with the energy density (dynamic pressure) of the solar wind flow. The magnitude of all responses are shown to depend on δBz. At Slough, the peak depression always occurs when Slough rotates into the noon sector. The largest ionospheric response is for southward turnings seen between 15–21 UT.
E.H. Erwin, H.E. Coffey, W.F. Denig, D.M. Willis, R. Henwood, and M.N. Wild. The greenwich photo-heliographic results (1874–1976): Initial corrections to the printed publications. Solar Physics, 2013. [ bib | DOI | http ]
A new sunspot and faculae digital dataset for the interval 1874–1955 has been prepared under the auspices of the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). This digital dataset contains measurements of the positions and areas of both sunspots and faculae published initially by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and subsequently by the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO), under the title Greenwich Photo-heliographic Results (GPR), 1874–1976. Quality control (QC) procedures based on logical consistency have been used to identify the more obvious errors in the RGO publications. Typical examples of identifiable errors are North versus South errors in specifying heliographic latitude, errors in specifying heliographic (Carrington) longitude, errors in the dates and times, errors in sunspot group numbers, arithmetic errors in the summation process, and the occasional omission of solar ephemerides. Although the number of errors in the RGO publications is remarkably small, an initial table of necessary corrections is provided for the interval 1874–1917. Moreover, as noted in the preceding companion papers, the existence of two independently prepared digital datasets, which both contain information on sunspot positions and areas, makes it possible to outline a preliminary strategy for the development of an even more accurate digital dataset. Further work is in progress to generate an extremely reliable sunspot digital dataset, based on the long programme of solar observations supported first by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and then by the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
M.A. Hapgood. Multi-step queries: the need for a correlation environment. In A. Heck and F. Murtagh, editors, Adding Intelligence to Information Retrieval: the Case of Astronomy and Related Space Sciences. Kluwer, Dordrecht, January 1993. [ bib ]
M.A. Hapgood, M. Lockwood, G.A. Bowe, D.M. Willis, and Y.K. Tulunay. Variability of the interplanetary medium at 1 a.u. over 24 years: 1963–1986. Planetary and Space Science, 39(3):411–423, March 1991. [ bib ]
A survey is presented of hourly averages of observations of the interplanetary medium, made by satellites close to the Earth (i.e. at 1 a.u.) in the years 1963-1986. This survey therefore covers two complete solar cycles (numbers 20 and 21). The distributions and solar-cycle variations of IMF field strength, B, and its northward component (in GSM coordinates), Bz, and of the solar-wind density, n, speed, υ, and dynamic pressure, P, are discussed. Because of their importance to the terrestrial magnetosphere/ionosphere, particular attention is given to Bz and P. The solar-cycle variation in the magnitude and variability of Bz, previously reported for cycle 20, is also found for cycle 21. However, the solar-wind data show a number of differences between cycles 20 and 21. The average dynamic pressure is found to show a solar-cycle variation and a systematic increase over the period of the survey. The minimum of dynamic pressure at sunspot maximum is mainly due to reduced solar-wind densities in cycle 20, but lower solar-wind speed in cycle 21 is a more significant factor. The distribution of the duration of periods of stable polarity of the IMF Bz component shows that the magnetosphere could achieve steady state for only a small fraction of the time and there is some evidence for a solar-cycle variation in this fraction. It is also found that the polarity changes in the IMF Bz fall into two classes: one with an associated change in solar-wind dynamic pressure, the other without such a change. However, in only 20% of cases does the dynamic pressure change exceed 50%.
Hisashi Hayakawa, Yusuke Ebihara, David M. Willis, Kentaro Hattori, Alessandra S. Giunta, Matthew N. Wild, Satoshi Hayakawa, Shin Toriumi, Yasuyuki Mitsuma, Lee T. Macdonald, Kazunari Shibata, and Sam M. Silverman. The great space weather event during 1872 february recorded in east asia. The Astrophysical Journal, 862(1):15, 2018. [ bib | DOI | http ]
The study of historical great geomagnetic storms is crucial for assessing the possible risks to the technological infrastructure of a modern society, caused by extreme space-weather events. The normal benchmark has been the great geomagnetic storm of 1859 September, the so-called ”Carrington Event.” However, there are numerous records of another great geomagnetic storm in 1872 February. This storm, which occurred about 12 years after the Carrington Event, resulted in comparable magnetic disturbances and auroral displays over large areas of the Earth. We have revisited this great geomagnetic storm in terms of the auroral and sunspot records in historical documents from East Asia. In particular, we have surveyed the auroral records from East Asia and estimated the equatorward boundary of the auroral oval to be near 24.2o invariant latitude, on the basis that the aurora was seen near the zenith at Shanghai (20o magnetic latitude, MLAT). These results confirm that this geomagnetic storm of 1872 February was as extreme as the Carrington Event, at least in terms of the equatorward motion of the auroral oval. Indeed, our results support the interpretation of the simultaneous auroral observations made at Bombay (10o MLAT). The East Asian auroral records have indicated extreme brightness, suggesting unusual precipitation of high-intensity, low-energy electrons during this geomagnetic storm. We have compared the duration of the East Asian auroral displays with magnetic observations in Bombay and found that the auroral displays occurred in the initial phase, main phase, and early recovery phase of the magnetic storm.
A. Hewish et al. Synoptic data for solar-terrestrial monitoring. Technical report, The Royal Society, London, September 1992. [ bib ]
J.W. King. Solar radiation changes and the weather. Nature, 245:443–446, October 1973. [ bib ]
C. Liu, P.A. Smith, and J.W. King. A new solar index which leads to improved fof2 predictions using the ccir atlas. Telecommunications Journal, 50(VIII):408–414, 1983. [ bib ]
M. Lockwood, A.P. Rouillard, I. Finch, and R. Stamper. Comment on “The IDV index: Its derivation and use in inferring long-term variations of the interplanetary magnetic field strength” by Leif Svalgaard and Edward W. Cliver. Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics), 111(A10):9109–+, September 2006. [ bib | DOI ]
M. Lockwood and R. Stamper. Long-term drift of the coronal source magnetic flux and the total solar irradiance. Geophysical Research Letters, 26(16):2461–2464, august 1999. [ bib | .html ]
We test the method of Lockwood et al. [1999] for deriving the coronal source flux from the geomagnetic aa index and show it to be accurate to within 12% for annual means and 4.5% for averages over a sunspot cycle. Using data from four solar constant monitors during 1981–1995, we find a linear relationship between this magnetic flux and the total solar irradiance. From this correlation, we show that the 131% rise in the mean coronal source field over the interval 1901–1995 corresponds to a rise in the average total solar irradiance of ΔI = 1.65 ±0.23 Wm-2.
M. Lockwood, R. Stamper, and M. Wild. A doubling of the sun's coronal magnetic field during the last 100 years. Nature, 399:437–439, june 1999. [ bib | DOI | .html | .pdf ]
The solar wind is an extended ionized gas of very high electrical conductivity, and therefore drags some magnetic flux out of the Sun to fill the heliosphere with a weak interplanetary magnetic field,. Magnetic reconnection – the merging of oppositely directed magnetic fields – between the interplanetary field and the Earth's magnetic field allows energy from the solar wind to enter the near-Earth environment. The Sun's properties, such as its luminosity, are related to its magnetic field, although the connections are still not well understood,. Moreover, changes in the heliospheric magnetic field have been linked with changes in total cloud cover over the Earth, which may influence global climate. Here we show that measurements of the near-Earth interplanetary magnetic field reveal that the total magnetic flux leaving the Sun has risen by a factor of 1.4 since 1964: surrogate measurements of the interplanetary magnetic field indicate that the increase since 1901 has been by a factor of 2.3. This increase may be related to chaotic changes in the dynamo that generates the solar magnetic field. We do not yet know quantitatively how such changes will influence the global environment.
M. Lockwood, R. Stamper, M.N. Wild, and H.J. Opgenoorth. Ground-based measurements in support of cluster: An on-line planning procedure. Technical Report RAL-95-018, DRAL, February 1995. [ bib ]
M. Lockwood, M.N. Wild, and S.W.H. Cowley. The onset and expansion of enhanced ionospheric convection following a southward turning of the imf. Journal of Geophysical Research, 1999. submitted. [ bib ]
M. Lockwood, M.N. Wild, R. Stamper, and M. Grande. Predicting solar disturbance effects on navigation systems. In Journal of Navigation, volume 52, pages 203–216, 1999. [ bib ]
H.J. Opgenoorth, M.A.L. Persson, M. Lockwood, R. Stamper, M.N. Wild, R. Pellinen, T. Pulkkinen, K. Kauristie, T. Hughes, and Y. Kamide. A new family of geomagnetic disturbance indices. In M. Lockwood, M.N. Wild, and H.J. Opgenoorth, editors, Satellite - Ground Based Coordination Sourcebook, volume SP-1198, pages 49–62. ESA, 1997. [ bib ]
T.I. Pulkkinen, H. Nevanlinna, P.J. Pulkkinen, and Lockwood M. The sun-earth connection in time scales from years to decades and centuries. Space Science Reviews, 95(1-2):625–637, January 2001. [ bib ]
The Sun–Earth connection is studied using long-term measurements from the Sun and from the Earth. The auroral activity is shown to correlate to high accuracy with the smoothed sunspot numbers. Similarly, both geomagnetic activity and global surface temperature anomaly can be linked to cyclic changes in the solar activity. The interlinked variations in the solar magnetic activity and in the solar irradiance cause effects that can be observed both in the Earth's biosphere and in the electromagnetic environment. The long-term data sets suggest that the increase in geomagnetic activity and surface temperatures are related (at least partially) to longer-term solar variations, which probably include an increasing trend superposed with a cyclic behavior with a period of about 90 years.
M.A. Saunders, M. Lockwood, and M.N. Wild. The semi-annual variation in great geomagnetic storms. Submitted to Annales Geophysicae, March 1993. [ bib ]
R. Stamper. Improved prediction of i_F2 and i_G indices using neural networks. IEEE Proc.-Microw. Antennas Propag., 143(4):341–346, August 1996. [ bib ]
R. Stamper, M. Lockwood, M.N. Wild, and T.D.G. Clark. Solar causes of the long-term increase in geomagnetic activity. Journal of Geophysical Research, 104(A12):28325–28342, December 1999. [ bib ]
We analyze the causes of the century-long increase in geomagnetic activity, quantified by annual means of the aa index, using observations of interplanetary space, galactic cosmic rays, the ionosphere, and the auroral electrojet, made during the last three solar cycles. The effects of changes in ionospheric conductivity, the Earth's dipole tilt, and magnetic moment are shown to be small; only changes in near-Earth interplanetary space make a significant contribution to the long-term increase in activity. We study the effects of the interplanetary medium by applying dimensional analysis to generate the optimum solar wind-magnetosphere energy coupling function, having an unprecedentedly high correlation coefficient of 0.97. Analysis of the terms of the coupling function shows that the largest contributions to the drift in activity over solar cycles 20–22 originate from rises in the average interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) strength, solar wind concentration, and speed; average IMF orientation has grown somewhat less propitious for causing geomagnetic activity. The combination of these factors explains almost all of the 39% rise in aa observed over the last three solar cycles. Whereas the IMF strength varies approximately in phase with sunspot numbers, neither its orientation nor the solar wind density shows any coherent solar cycle variation. The solar wind speed peaks strongly in the declining phase of even-numbered cycles and can be identified as the chief cause of the phase shift between the sunspot numbers and the aa index. The rise in the IMF magnitude, the largest single contributor to the drift in geomagnetic activity, is shown to be caused by a rise in the solar coronal magnetic field, consistent with a rise in the coronal source field, modeled from photospheric observations, and an observed decay in cosmic ray fluxes.
R. Stamper, M. Wild, and M. Lockwood. An on-line directory of ground-based stp observatories. In M. Lockwood, M.N. Wild, and H.J. Opgenoorth, editors, Satellite - Ground Based Coordination Sourcebook, volume SP-1198, pages 367–407. ESA, 1997. [ bib ]
E.P. Szuszczewicz, P. Blanchard, P. Wilkinson, G. Crowley, T. Fuller-Rowell, P. Richards, M. Abdu, T. Bullett, R. Hanbaba, J.P. Lebreton, M. Lester, M. Lockwood, G. Millward, M. Wild, S. Pulinets, B.M. Reddy, I. Stanislawska, G. Vannaroni, and B. Zolesi. The first realtime worldwide ionospheric prediction network: An advance in support of spaceborne experimentation, on-line model validation, and space weather. Geophysical Research Letters, 25(4):449–452, feb 1998. [ bib ]
We report on the first realtime ionospheric predictions network and its capabilities to ingest a global database and forecast F-layer characteristics and “in situ” electron densities along the track of an orbiting spacecraft. A global network of ionosonde stations reported around-the-clock observations of F-region heights and densities, and an on-line library of models provided forecasting capabilities. Each model was tested against the incoming data; relative accuracies were intercompared to determine the best overall fit to the prevailing conditions; and the best-fit model was used to predict ionospheric conditions on an orbit-to-orbit basis for the 12-hour period following a twice-daily model test and validation procedure. It was found that the best-fit model often provided averaged (i.e., climatologically-based) accuracies better than 5% in predicting the heights and critical frequencies of the F-region peaks in the latitudinal domain of the TSS-1R flight path. There was a sharp contrast, however, in model-measurement comparisons involving predictions of actual, unaveraged, along-track densities at the 295 km orbital altitude of TSS-1R. In this case, extrema in the first-principle models varied by as much as an order of magnitude in density predictions, and the best-fit models were found to disagree with the “in situ” observations of Ne by as much as 140%. The discrepancies are interpreted as a manifestation of difficulties in accurately and self-consistently modeling the external controls of solar and magnetospheric inputs and the spatial and temporal variabilities in electric fields, thermospheric winds, plasmaspheric fluxes, and chemistry.
M.N. Wild and M. Lockwood. Cluster-ground based data centre. In M. Lockwood, M.N. Wild, and H.J. Opgenoorth, editors, Satellite - Ground Based Coordination Sourcebook, volume SP-1198, pages 361–366. ESA, 1997. [ bib ]
D. M. Willis, R. Henwood, M.N. Wild, H.E. Coffey, W.F. Denig, E.H. Erwin, and D. V. Hoyt. The greenwich photo-heliographic results (1874–1976): Procedures for checking and correcting the sunspot digital datasets. Solar Physics, 2013. [ bib | DOI | http ]
Attention is drawn to the existence of errors in the original digital dataset containing sunspot data extracted from certain sections of the printed Greenwich Photo-heliographic Results (GPR) 1874–1976. Calculating the polar coordinates from the heliographic coordinates and comparing them with the recorded polar coordinates reveals that there are both isolated and systematic errors in the original sunspot digital dataset, particularly during the early years (1874–1914). It should be noted that most of these errors are present in the compiled sunspot digital dataset and not in the original printed copies of the Greenwich Photo-heliographic Results. Surprisingly, many of the errors in the digitised positions of sunspot groups are apparently in the measured polar coordinates, not the derived heliographic coordinates. The mathematical equations that are used to convert between heliographic and polar coordinate systems are formulated and then used to calculate revised (digitised) polar coordinates for sunspot groups, on the assumption that the heliographic coordinates of every sunspot group are correct. The additional complication of requiring accurate solar ephemerides in order to solve the mathematical equations is discussed in detail. It is shown that the isolated and systematic errors, which are prevalent in the sunspot digital dataset during the early years, disappear if revised polar coordinates are used instead. A comprehensive procedure for checking the original sunspot digital dataset is formulated in an Appendix.
D. M. Willis, M. N. Wild, G. M. Appleby, and L. T. Macdonald. The greenwich photo-heliographic results (1874–1885): Observing telescopes, photographic processes, and solar images. Solar Physics, pages 1–34, 2016. [ bib | DOI | http | .pdf ]
Potential sources of inhomogeneity in the sunspot measurements published by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, during the early interval 1874–1885 are examined critically. Particular attention is paid to inhomogeneities that might arise because the sunspot measurements were derived from solar photographs taken at various contributing solar observatories, which used different telescopes, experienced different seeing conditions, and employed different photographic processes. The procedures employed in the Solar Department at the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO), Herstmonceux, during the final phase of sunspot observations provide a modern benchmark for interpreting the early sunspot measurements. The different observing telescopes used at the contributing solar observatories during the interval 1874–1885 are discussed in detail, using information gleaned from the official RGO publications and other relevant historical documents. Likewise, the different photographic processes employed at the different solar observatories are reviewed carefully. The procedures used by RGO staff to measure the positions and areas of sunspot groups on photographs of the Sun having a nominal radius of either four or eight inches are described. It is argued that the learning curve for the use of the Kew photoheliograph at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, actually commenced in 1858, not 1874. The RGO daily number of sunspot groups is plotted graphically and analysed statistically. Similarly, the changes of metadata at each solar observatory are shown on the graphical plots and analysed statistically. It is concluded that neither the interleaving of data from the different solar observatories nor the changes in metadata invalidates the RGO count of the number of sunspot groups, which behaves as a quasi-homogeneous time series. Furthermore, it is emphasised that the correct treatment of days without photographs is quite crucial to the correct calculation of Group Sunspot Numbers.
D. M. Willis, M. N. Wild, and J. S. Warburton. Re-examination of the daily number of sunspot groups for the royal observatory, greenwich (1874–1885). Solar Physics, pages 1–34, 2016. [ bib | DOI | http | .pdf ]
The daily number of sunspot groups on the solar disk, as recorded by the programme of sunspot observations performed under the aegis of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK, and subsequently the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO), is re-examined for the interval 1874–1885. The motivation for this re-examination is the key role that the RGO number of sunspot groups plays in the calculation of Group Sunspot Numbers (Hoyt and Schatten in Solar Phys. 179, 189, 1998a; Solar Phys. 181, 491, 1998b). A new dataset has been derived for the RGO daily number of sunspot groups in the interval 1874–1885. This new dataset attempts to achieve complete consistency between the sunspot data presented in the three main sections of the RGO publications and also incorporates all known errata and additions. It is argued that days for which no RGO solar photograph was acquired originally should be regarded, without exception, as being days without meaningful sunspot data. The daily number of sunspot groups that Hoyt and Schatten assign to days without RGO photographs is frequently just a lower limit. Moreover, in the absence of a solar photograph, the daily number of sunspot groups is inevitably uncertain because of the known frequent occurrence of sunspot groups that exist for just a single day. The elimination of days without photographs changes the list of inter-comparison days on which both the primary RGO observer and a specified secondary comparison observer saw at least one sunspot group. The resulting changes in the personal correction factors of secondary observers then change the personal correction factors of overlapping tertiary observers, etc. In this way, numerical changes in the personal correction factors of secondary observers propagate away from the interval 1874–1885, thereby potentially changing the arithmetical calculation of Group Sunspot Numbers over an appreciably wider time interval.
D.M. Willis, H.E. Coffey, R. Henwood, E.H. Erwin, D.V. Hoyt, M.N. Wild, and W.F. Denig. The greenwich photo-heliographic results (1874–1976): Summary of the observations, applications, datasets, definitions and errors. Solar Physics, 2013. [ bib | DOI | http ]
The measurements of sunspot positions and areas that were published initially by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and subsequently by the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO), as the Greenwich Photo-heliographic Results (GPR), 1874–1976, exist in both printed and digital forms. These printed and digital sunspot datasets have been archived in various libraries and data centres. Unfortunately, however, typographic, systematic and isolated errors can be found in the various datasets. The purpose of the present paper is to begin the task of identifying and correcting these errors. In particular, the intention is to provide in one foundational paper all the necessary background information on the original solar observations, their various applications in scientific research, the format of the different digital datasets, the necessary definitions of the quantities measured, and the initial identification of errors in both the printed publications and the digital datasets. Two companion papers address the question of specific identifiable errors; namely, typographic errors in the printed publications, and both isolated and systematic errors in the digital datasets. The existence of two independently prepared digital datasets, which both contain information on sunspot positions and areas, makes it possible to outline a preliminary strategy for the development of an even more accurate digital dataset. Further work is in progress to generate an extremely reliable sunspot digital dataset, based on the programme of solar observations supported for more than a century by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. This improved dataset should be of value in many future scientific investigations.
D.M. Willis, V.N. Davda, and F.Richard Stephenson. Comparison between oriental and occidental sunspot observations. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 37:189–229, jun 1996. [ bib ]
D.M. Willis, R. Henwood, and F.R. Stephenson. The presence of large sunspots near the central solar meridian at the times of major geomagnetic storms. Annales Geophysicae, 27(1):185–197, January 2009. [ bib | http ]
A further study is made of the validity of a technique developed by the authors to identify historical occurrences of intense geomagnetic storms, which is based on finding approximately coincident observations of sunspots and aurorae recorded in East Asian histories. Previously, the validity of this technique was corroborated using scientific observations of aurorae in Japan during the interval 1957–2004 and contemporaneous white-light images of the Sun obtained by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Big Bear Solar Observatory, the Debrecen Heliophysical Observatory, and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft. The present investigation utilises a list of major geomagnetic storms in the interval 1868–2008, which is based on the magnitude of the AA* magnetic index, and reconstructed solar images based on the sunspot observations acquired by the Royal Greenwich Observatory during the shorter interval 1874–1976. It is found that a sunspot large enough to be seen with the unaided eye by an "experienced" observer was located reasonably close to the central solar meridian for almost 90% of these major geomagnetic storms. Even an "average" observer would easily achieve a corresponding success rate of 70% and this success rate increases to about 80% if a minority of ambiguous situations are interpreted favourably. The use of information on major geomagnetic storms, rather than modern auroral observations from Japan, provides a less direct corroboration of the technique for identifying historical occurrences of intense geomagnetic storms, if only because major geomagnetic storms do not necessarily produce auroral displays over East Asia. Nevertheless, the present study provides further corroboration of the validity of the original technique for identifying intense geomagnetic storms. This additional corroboration of the original technique is important because early unaided-eye observations of sunspots and aurorae provide the only possible means of identifying individual geomagnetic storms during the greater part of the past two millennia.
D.M. Willis, F. R. Stephenson, and Huiping Fang. Sporadic aurorae observed in east asia. Annales Geophysicae, 25(2):417–436, March 2007. [ bib | .html | .pdf ]
All the accessible auroral observations recorded in Chinese and Japanese histories during the interval AD 1840–1911 are investigated in detail. Most of these auroral records have never been translated into a Western language before. The East Asian auroral reports provide information on the date and approximate location of each auroral observation, together with limited scientific information on the characteristics of the auroral luminosity such as colour, duration, extent, position in the sky and approximate time of occurrence. The full translations of the original Chinese and Japanese auroral records are presented in an appendix, which contains bibliographic details of the various historical sources. (There are no known reliable Korean observations during this interval.) A second appendix discusses a few implausible "auroral" records, which have been rejected. The salient scientific properties of all exactly dated and reliable East Asian auroral observations in the interval AD 1840–1911 are summarised succinctly. By comparing the relevant scientific information on exactly dated auroral observations with the lists of great geomagnetic storms compiled by the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and also the tabulated values of the Ak (Helsinki) and aa (Greenwich and Melbourne) magnetic indices, it is found that 5 of the great geomagnetic storms (aa>150 or Ak>50) during either the second half of the nineteenth century or the first decade of the twentieth century are clearly identified by extensive auroral displays observed in China or Japan. Indeed, two of these great storms produced auroral displays observed in both countries on the same night. Conversely, at least 29 (69%) of the 42 Chinese and Japanese auroral observations occurred at times of weak-to-moderate geomagnetic activity (aa or Ak≤50). It is shown that these latter auroral displays are very similar to the more numerous (about 50) examples of sporadic aurorae observed in the United States during the interval AD 1880–1940. The localised nature and spatial structure of some sporadic aurorae observed in East Asia is indicated by the use of descriptive terms such as "lightning", "rainbow", "streak" and "grid".
D.M. Willis and Y.K. Tulunay. Statistics of the largest sunspot and facular areas per solar cycle. Solar Physics, 64:237–246, 1979. [ bib ]
The paper uses the statistics of extreme values to investigate the statistical properties of the largest areas of sunspots and photospheric faculae per solar cycle. The largest values of the synodic-solar-rotation mean areas of umbrae, whole spots and faculae, which have been recorded for nine solar cycles are shown to comply with the general form of the extreme value probability function. Empirical expressions are derived for the three extreme value populations from which the characteristic statistic parameters, namely the mode, median, mean and standard deviation, can be calculated for each population. It is found that extreme areas of umbrae and whole spots have a diversion comparable to that found by Siscoe for the extreme values of sunspot number whereas the extreme areas of faculae have a smaller dispersion which is comparable to that found by Siscoe for the largest geomagnetic storm per solar cycle.