The WSA-ENLIL model predicts significant evolution of the solar wind speed. Along a flux tube the solar wind speed at 1.0 AU and beyond is found to be significantly altered from the solar wind speed in the outer corona at 0.1 AU, with most of the change occurring within a few tenths of an AU from the Sun. The evolution of the solar wind speed is most pronounced during solar minimum for solar wind with observed speeds at 1.0 AU between 400 and 500 km/s, while the fastest and slowest solar wind experiences little acceleration or deceleration. Solar wind ionic charge state observations made near 1.0 AU during solar minimum are found to be consistent with a large fraction of the intermediate-speed solar wind having been accelerated or decelerated from slower or faster speeds. This paper sets the groundwork for understanding the evolution of wind speed with distance, which is critical for interpreting the solar wind composition observations near Earth and throughout the inner heliosphere. We show from composition observations that the intermediate-speed solar wind (400-500 km/s) represents a mix of what was originally fast and slow solar wind, which implies a more bimodal solar wind in the corona than observed at 1.0 AU.
Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics
AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
McGregor, S. L.; Hughes, W. J.; Arge, C. N.; Odstrcil, D.; and Schwadron, Nathan A., "The radial evolution of solar wind speeds" (2011). Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics. 77.
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union