A physics-based method that can predict imminent large solar flares

Kanya Kusano, Tomoya Iju, Yumi Bamba, Satoshi Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Solar flares are highly energetic events in the Sun's corona that affect Earth's space weather. The mechanism that drives the onset of solar flares is unknown, hampering efforts to forecast them, which mostly rely on empirical methods. We present the k-scheme, a physics-based model to predict large solar flares through a critical condition of magnetohydrodynamic instability, triggered by magnetic reconnection. Analysis of the largest (X-class) flares from 2008 to 2019 (during solar cycle 24) shows that the k-scheme predicts most imminent large solar flares, with a small number of exceptions for confined flares. We conclude that magnetic twist flux density, close to a magnetic polarity inversion line on the solar surface, determines when and where solar flares may occur and how large they can be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-591
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume369
Issue number6503
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 31 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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