Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The statistics of extreme values is used to investigate the statistical properties of the largest areas of sunspots and photospheric faculae per solar cycle. The largest values of the synodic-solar-rotation mean areas of umbrae, whole spots and faculae, which have been recorded for nine solar cycles, are each shown to comply with the general form of the extreme value probability function. Empirical expressions are derived for the three extreme value populations from which the characteristic statistical parameters, namely the mode, median, mean and standard deviation, can be calculated for each population. These three extreme value populations are also used to find the expected ranges of the extreme areas in a group of solar cycles as a function of the number of cycles in the group. The extreme areas of umbrae and whole spots have a dispersion comparable to that found by Siscoe for the extreme values of sunspot number, whereas the extreme areas of faculae have a smaller dispersion which is comparable to that found by Siscoe for the largest geomagnetic storm per solar cycle. The expected range of the largest sunspot area per solar cycle for a group of one hundred cycles appears to be inconsistent with the existence of the prolonged periods of sunspot minima that have been inferred from the historical information on solar variability. This inconsistency supports the contention that there are temporal changes of solar-cycle statistics during protracted periods of sunspot minima (or maxima). Indeed, without such temporal changes, photospheric faculae should have been continually observable throughout the lifetime of the Sun.
Type of Medium: