Context. Understanding the evolution of coronal holes is especially important when studying the high-speed solar wind streams that emanate from them. Slow- and high-speed stream interaction regions may deliver large amounts of energy into the Earth’s magnetosphere-ionosphere system, cause geomagnetic storms, and shape interplanetary space.
Aims. By statistically investigating the long-term evolution of well-observed coronal holes we aim to reveal processes that drive the observed changes in the coronal hole parameters. By analyzing 16 long-living coronal holes observed by the Solar Dynamic Observatory, we focus on coronal, morphological, and underlying photospheric magnetic field characteristics, and investigate the evolution of the associated high-speed streams.
Methods. We use the Collection of Analysis Tools for Coronal Holes to extract and analyze coronal holes using 193 Å EUV observations taken by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly as well as line–of–sight magnetograms observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. We derive changes in the coronal hole properties and look for correlations with coronal hole evolution. Further, we analyze the properties of the high–speed stream signatures near 1AU from OMNI data by manually extracting the peak bulk velocity of the solar wind plasma.
Results. We find that the area evolution of coronal holes shows a general trend of growing to a maximum followed by a decay. We did not find any correlation between the area evolution and the evolution of the signed magnetic flux or signed magnetic flux density enclosed in the projected coronal hole area. From this we conclude that the magnetic flux within the extracted coronal hole boundaries is not the main cause for its area evolution. We derive coronal hole area change rates (growth and decay) of (14.2 ± 15.0)×108 km2 per day showing a reasonable anti-correlation (ccPearson = −0.48) to the solar activity, approximated by the sunspot number. The change rates of the signed mean magnetic flux density (27.3 ± 32.2 mG day−1) and the signed magnetic flux (30.3 ± 31.5 1018 Mx day−1) were also found to be dependent on solar activity (ccPearson = 0.50 and ccPearson = 0.69 respectively) rather than on the individual coronal hole evolutions. Further we find that the relation between coronal hole area and high-speed stream peak velocity is valid for each coronal hole over its evolution, but we see significant variations in the slopes of the regression lines.
- Sun: corona
- Sun: evolution
- Sun: activity
- Sun: magnetic fields
- Solar-terrestrial relations
- Solar wind