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Department of Mathematical Sciences


Publication details for Anthony Yeates

Edwards, S. J., Yeates, A. R., Bocquet, F.-X. & Mackay, D. H. (2015). Influence of Non-Potential Coronal Magnetic Topology on Solar-Wind Models. Solar Physics 290(10): 2791-2808.

Author(s) from Durham


By comparing a magneto-frictional model of the low-coronal magnetic-field to a potential-field source-surface model, we investigate the possible impact of non-potential magnetic structure on empirical solar-wind models. These empirical models (such as Wang–Sheeley–Arge) estimate the distribution of solar-wind speed solely from the magnetic-field structure in the low corona. Our models are computed in a domain between the solar surface and 2.5 solar radii, and they are extended to 0.1 AU using a Schatten current-sheet model. The non-potential field has a more complex magnetic skeleton and quasi-separatrix structures than the potential field, leading to different sub-structure in the solar-wind speed proxies. It contains twisted magnetic structures that can perturb the separatrix surfaces traced down from the base of the heliospheric current sheet. A significant difference between the models is the greater amount of open magnetic flux in the non-potential model. Using existing empirical formulae this leads to higher predicted wind speeds for two reasons: partly because magnetic-flux tubes expand less rapidly with height, but more importantly because more open-field lines are further from coronal-hole boundaries.