The Energetics of Sunspots and Faculae: Fluid Dynamics vs. Magnetic Inhibition

Kenneth H. Schatten [schatten@ai-solutions.com], (AI-Solutions, city, state), and Hans G. Mayr (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland)

We describe the “Ion-Hurricane Model” for sunspots and faculae. This is a fluid dynamical model, which contrasts the static traditional “Well Model”. In the Well model, the magnetic field “inhibits” convective energy transport. For the Ion-Hurricane model, the Sun’s atmosphere is considered governed by meteorological effects. An important aspect is that the Sun’s convection region is a “superadiabatic” atmosphere. As discussed first by Parker, a downflow results in cooling, and an upflow, in heating. As a consequence, sunspots/faculae can be viewed as being cooled/heated, due to the energy transport associated with vertical motions. This model has in common with terrestrial hurricanes that convection and latent heat are of central importance. Hurricane clouds cooperate by extracting latent energy in the form of warm moisture from the oceans. For solar active region features, hydrogen ionization provides the latent energy driving the motions in these features. Sun spots are depressions in this view due to the smaller scale height associated with the lower temperature, and the facular heating results in uplifting their structures, into “hillocks.” This view is consistent with their brightness and spectral irradiance. The effects of active regions upon solar irradiance and climatic effects are also discussed.
We also discuss an exciting new initiative, complementary to SORCE, to develop a distributed, virtual institute to bring together the solar and climate communities under the auspices of USRA (Universities Space Research Association), with further information found at: http://www.usra.edu/hq/meetings/scw/.