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Influence of Non-Potential Coronal Magnetic Topology on Solar-Wind Models

Edwards, S.J.; Yeates, A.R.; Bocquet, F.-X.; Mackay, D.H.

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S.J. Edwards

F.-X. Bocquet

D.H. Mackay


By comparing a magneto-frictional model of the low-coronal magnetic-field to a potential-field source-surface model, we investigate the possible impact of non-potential magnetic structure on empirical solar-wind models. These empirical models (such as Wang–Sheeley–Arge) estimate the distribution of solar-wind speed solely from the magnetic-field structure in the low corona. Our models are computed in a domain between the solar surface and 2.5 solar radii, and they are extended to 0.1 AU using a Schatten current-sheet model. The non-potential field has a more complex magnetic skeleton and quasi-separatrix structures than the potential field, leading to different sub-structure in the solar-wind speed proxies. It contains twisted magnetic structures that can perturb the separatrix surfaces traced down from the base of the heliospheric current sheet. A significant difference between the models is the greater amount of open magnetic flux in the non-potential model. Using existing empirical formulae this leads to higher predicted wind speeds for two reasons: partly because magnetic-flux tubes expand less rapidly with height, but more importantly because more open-field lines are further from coronal-hole boundaries.


Edwards, S., Yeates, A., Bocquet, F., & Mackay, D. (2015). Influence of Non-Potential Coronal Magnetic Topology on Solar-Wind Models. Solar Physics, 290(10), 2791-2808.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 28, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 28, 2015
Publication Date Oct 28, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 28, 2016
Journal Solar Physics
Print ISSN 0038-0938
Electronic ISSN 1573-093X
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 290
Issue 10
Pages 2791-2808
Keywords Corona, models, Magnetic fields, corona, Magnetic fields, interplanetary, Magnetic fields, models, Solar wind, theory.
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