1Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Sao Jose dos Campos, SP, Brazil
2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Received: 08 Nov 2010 – Revised: 31 Mar 2011 – Accepted: 11 Apr 2011 – Published: 16 May 2011
Abstract. Minima in geomagnetic activity (MGA) at Earth at the ends of SC23 and SC22 have been identified. The two MGAs (called MGA23 and MGA22, respectively) were present in 2009 and 1997, delayed from the sunspot number minima in 2008 and 1996 by ~1/2–1 years. Part of the solar and interplanetary causes of the MGAs were exceptionally low solar (and thus low interplanetary) magnetic fields. Another important factor in MGA23 was the disappearance of equatorial and low latitude coronal holes and the appearance of midlatitude coronal holes. The location of the holes relative to the ecliptic plane led to low solar wind speeds and low IMF (Bz) variances (σBz2) and normalized variances (σBz2/B02) at Earth, with concomitant reduced solar wind-magnetospheric energy coupling. One result was the lowest ap indices in the history of ap recording. The results presented here are used to comment on the possible solar and interplanetary causes of the low geomagnetic activity that occurred during the Maunder Minimum.
Citation: Tsurutani, B. T., Echer, E., and Gonzalez, W. D.: The solar and interplanetary causes of the recent minimum in geomagnetic activity (MGA23): a combination of midlatitude small coronal holes, low IMF BZ variances, low solar wind speeds and low solar magnetic fields, Ann. Geophys., 29, 839-849, doi:10.5194/angeo-29-839-2011, 2011.