The 11-year solar cycle variation in the heliospheric magnetic field strength can be explained by the temporary buildup of closed flux released by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). If this explanation is correct, and the total open magnetic flux is conserved, then the interplanetary-CME closed flux must eventually open via reconnection with open flux close to the Sun. In this case each CME will move the reconnected open flux by at least the CME footpoint separation distance. Since the polarity of CME footpoints tends to follow a pattern similar to the Hale cycle of sunspot polarity, repeated CME eruption and subsequent reconnection will naturally result in latitudinal transport of open solar flux. We demonstrate how this process can reverse the coronal and heliospheric fields, and we calculate that the amount of flux involved is sufficient to accomplish the reversal within the 11 years of the solar cycle.
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Owens, M. J., N. A. Schwadron, N. U. Crooker, W. J. Hughes, and H. E. Spence (2007), Role of coronal mass ejections in the heliospheric Hale cycle, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06104, doi:10.1029/2006GL028795.
Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.