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Flare rates and the McIntosh active-region classifications


Multiple linear regression analysis was used to derive the effective solar flare contributions of each of the McIntosh classification parameters. The best fits to the combined average number of M- and X-class X-ray flares per day were found when the flare contributions were assumed to be multiplicative rather than additive. This suggests that nonlinear processes may amplify the effects of the following different active-region properties encoded in the McIntosh classifications: the length of the sunspot group, the size and shape of the largest spot, and the distribution of spots within the group. Since many of these active-region properties are correlated with magnetic field strengths and fluxes, we suggest that the derived correlations reflect a more fundamental relationship between flare production and the magnetic properties of the region. The derived flare contributions for the individual McIntosh parameters can be used to derive a flare rate for each of the three-parameter McIntosh classes. These derived flare rates can be interpreted as smoothed values that may provide better estimates of an active region's expected flare rate when rare classes are reported or when the multiple observing sites report slightly different classifications.

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Bornmann, P.L., Shaw, D. Flare rates and the McIntosh active-region classifications. Sol Phys 150, 127–146 (1994).

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  • Flare
  • Hide Unit
  • Large Spot
  • Classification Parameter
  • Bipolar Group