Current helicity of active regions as a tracer of large-scale solar magnetic helicity

H. Zhang, D. Moss, N. Kleeorin, K. Kuzanyan, I. Rogachevskii, D. Sokoloff, Y. Gao, H. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that the current helicity observed in solar active regions traces the magnetic helicity of the large-scale dynamo generated field. We use an advanced two-dimensional mean-field dynamo model with dynamo saturation based on the evolution of the magnetic helicity and algebraic quenching. For comparison, we also studied a more basic two-dimensional mean-field dynamo model with simple algebraic alpha-quenching only. Using these numerical models we obtained butterfly diagrams both for the small-scale current helicity and also for the large-scale magnetic helicity, and compared them with the butterfly diagram for the current helicity in active regions obtained from observations. This comparison shows that the current helicity of active regions, as estimated by -A · B evaluated at the depth from which the active region arises, resembles the observational data much better than the small-scale current helicity calculated directly from the helicity evolution equation. Here B and A are, respectively, the dynamo generated mean magnetic field and its vector potential. A theoretical interpretation of these results is given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 May 2012


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: dynamo
  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: magnetic topology
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • sunspots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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