Solar-cycle Variations of Meridional Flows in the Solar Convection Zone Using Helioseismic Methods

Chia Hsien Lin, Dean Yi Chou

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17 Scopus citations


The solar meridional flow is an axisymmetric flow in solar meridional planes, extending through the convection zone. Here we study its solar-cycle variations in the convection zone using SOHO/MDI helioseismic data from 1996 to 2010, including two solar minima and one maximum. The travel-time difference between northward and southward acoustic waves is related to the meridional flow along the wave path. Applying the ray approximation and the SOLA inversion method to the travel-time difference measured in a previous study, we obtain the meridional flow distributions in 0.67 ≤ r ≤ 0.96R o at the minimum and maximum. At the minimum, the flow has a three-layer structure: poleward in the upper convection zone, equatorward in the middle convection zone, and poleward again in the lower convection zone. The flow speed is close to zero within the error bar near the base of the convection zone. The flow distribution changes significantly from the minimum to the maximum. The change above 0.9R o shows two phenomena: first, the poleward flow speed is reduced at the maximum; second, an additional convergent flow centered at the active latitudes is generated at the maximum. These two phenomena are consistent with the surface meridional flow reported in previous studies. The change in flow extends all the way down to the base of the convection zone, and the pattern of the change below 0.9R o is more complicated. However, it is clear that the active latitudes play a role in the flow change: the changes in flow speed below and above the active latitudes have opposite signs. This suggests that magnetic fields could be responsible for the flow change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2018


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: evolution
  • Sun: helioseismology
  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: oscillations


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