Statistical study of free magnetic energy and flare productivity of solar active regions

J. T. Su, Ju Jing, S. Wang, T. Wiegelmann, Haimin Wang

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23 Scopus citations


Photospheric vector magnetograms from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory are utilized as the boundary conditions to extrapolate both nonlinear force-free and potential magnetic fields in solar corona. Based on the extrapolations, we are able to determine the free magnetic energy (FME) stored in active regions (ARs). Over 3000 vector magnetograms in 61 ARs were analyzed. We compare FME with the ARs' flare index (FI) and find that there is a weak correlation (<60%) between FME and FI. FME shows slightly improved flare predictability relative to the total unsigned magnetic flux of ARs in the following two aspects: (1) the flare productivity predicted by FME is higher than that predicted by magnetic flux and (2) the correlation between FI and FME is higher than that between FI and magnetic flux. However, this improvement is not significant enough to make a substantial difference in time-accumulated FI, rather than individual flare, predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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