Productivity of solar flares and magnetic helicity injection in active regions

Sung Hong Park, Jongchul Chae, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The main objective of this study is to better understand how magnetic helicity injection in an active region (AR) is related to the occurrence and intensity of solar flares. We therefore investigate the magnetic helicity injection rate and unsigned magnetic flux, as a reference. In total, 378 ARs are analyzed using SOHO/MDI magnetograms. The 24 hr averaged helicity injection rate and unsigned magnetic flux are compared with the flare index and the flare-productive probability in the next 24 hr following a measurement. In addition, we study the variation of helicity over a span of several days around the times of the 19 flares above M5.0 which occurred in selected strong flare-productive ARs. The major findings of this study areas follows: (1) for a sub-sample of 91 large ARs with unsigned magnetic fluxes in the range from (3-5) × 1022 Mx, there is a difference in the magnetic helicity injection rate between flaring ARs and non-flaring ARs by a factor of 2; (2) the GOES C-flare-productive probability as a function of helicity injection displays a sharp boundary between flare-productive ARs and flare-quiet ones; (3) the history of helicity injection before all the 19 major flares displayed a common characteristic: a significant helicity accumulation of (3-45) × 1042 Mx2 during a phase of monotonically increasing helicity over 0.5-2 days. Our results support the notion that helicity injection is important in flares, but it is not effective to use it alone for the purpose of flare forecast. It is necessary to find a way to better characterize the time history of helicity injection as well as its spatial distribution inside ARs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic topology
  • Sun: photosphere


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