Temporal Distribution of Solar Cycle 24 Sunspot Groups: Comparison to Cycles 12-23

Jouni J. Takalo


We analyze the temporal distribution of sunspot groups for even and odd cycles in the range SC12- SC24. It seems that cycle 24 is a characteristic even cycle, although with low amplitude. The number of large sunspot groups for cycle 24 is relatively smaller than for the average of both even and odd cycles SC12-SC23, and there is a deep decline of the large groups in the middle of the cycle. Temporal evolution of the sunspot groups of the even cycles is non-synchronous such that the northern hemisphere distribution of groups maximizes earlier that the southern hemisphere groups. This leads to a double-peak structure for the average even cycle. On the other hand, the distributions of the sunspot groups of odd cycles maximize simultaneously. We show that this double-peak structure intensifies the Gnevyshev gap (GG) for the even cycles, but is not its primary cause. On the contrary, we show that the GG exists for even and odd cycles, and separately on both hemispheres. We resample all cycles to have equal number of 3945 days and study the difference in the evolution of average total group area and average group area of the even and odd cycles separately. The analysis shows that there is a decline in both total area and average area in the even cycles 1445 days (about four years) after the beginning of the cycle, which is at least 99 % significant for both total and average area. The odd cycles do not have such a clear decline.


Sun: Solar cycle 24; Sun: Even and odd solar cycles; Sun: sunspot areas; Sun: sunspot groups; Sun: Gnevyshev gap; Method: Distribution analysis; Method: Statistical analysis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-8562
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X