WG Report from 12 august 2015

Dear members of IAU WG on Coordination of Synoptic Observations of the Sun.

Here is a brief update on the activities related to this IAU working group.  First, I continued to recover the material that was lost due to crash of NSO/Sac Peak server. List of existing observatories is almost restored, but if something is still missing please let me know.

Group members were actively involved in discussions/strategic planning related to current and future synoptic observations, curation of synoptic data sets, and coordination of international collaboration. These activities included advocating the role of groundbased observations in support of space missions (via International Living With a Star/ILWS and other meetings). As the result, there is now a Solar Probe Plus – Ground-based support working group with Tim Bastian and Nathan Schwadron as co-Chairs, which develops requirements (white paper) for groundbased support of Solar Probe Plus mission. At the last L5 mission workshop in London, a working group on “L5: Complementary ground-based instrumentation/data to space-weather missions” was formed. Mario Bisi and myself are leading this effort. Solar Physics Research Integrated Network Group (SPRING) is developing instrumentation concepts for future network for solar observations (Markus Roth is leading this effort). Finally, there were a series of workshops held by “Sunspot Numbers” working group (led by F. Clette, E. Cliver, and L. Svalgaard). The purpose of these meetings was to establish a uniform data set of historical sunspot number series. This last effort resulted in re-calibration of sunspot number series. IAU issued a press release (http://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1508/) and held a press briefing to highlight this achievement.

WG members played critical role in establishing broader international collaboration in analyzing historical data sets of sunspot number, sunspot areas, and field strength measurements. Number of collaborative papers are published or in preparation. I am aware of several papers (but probably not all):

  • Muñoz-Jaramillo, A., et al.: 2015, “The minimum of Solar cycle 23: As Deep As It Could Be?“, Astrophys. J., 804, Issue 1, article id. 68, 12 pp, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/804/1/68
  • Muñoz-Jaramillo, A., et al.: 2015, “Area and Flux Distributions of Active Regions, Sunspot Groups, and Sunspots: A Multi-Database Study“, Astrophys. J, 800, 48, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/800/1/48
  • Clette, F., Svalgaard, L., Vaquero, J. M., Cliver, E. W.: 2014, “Revisiting the Sunspot Number. A 400-Year Perspective on the Solar Cycle”, Space Science Reviews 186, 35-103, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-014-0074-2
  • Pevtsov, A. A., Bertello, L., Tlatov, A. G., Kilcik, A., Nagovitsyn, Yu. A., Cliver, E. W.: 2014, “Cyclic and Long-term Variation of Sunspot Magnetic Fields“, Solar Physics, 289, issue 2, 593-602, DOI: 10.1007/s11207-012-0220-5

Lastly, our proposal to elevate the status of this WG to inter-Division B and E working group was approved by the Steering Committees of both Divisions. During the last IAU General Assembly, Frederic Clette and I met with (incoming and outgoing) Presidents of two Divisions and Chairs of Commissions that are relevant to our working group. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss how this new inter-Division working group will fit within the Divisions, and what additional functions this WG will have. The meeting was very positive, and I think we are now getting closer to form such a group. It is my understanding that as part of this re-organization the old WG will cease to exist, and a new WG will be formed instead. This will include formation of a new organizing committee etc.  In addition to functions that were described in the mission statement of our working group (http://www.nso.edu/IAU-Com12), it will include such functions as (1) curation and preservation of historical data, (2) approval of the upcoming end-to-end revision of the sunspot number series and establishing procedures for designation of important data series as “standard”, (3) a more permanent long-term supervision process where the IAU, via the WG, monitors the output of our World Data Center (e.g. on the base of the periodic reports that we also provide to the World Data System) and where the IAU can also be solicited for the approval of occasional important changes considered for the series in the future, (4) a continuation of  activities aimed at promoting strong international collaboration in synoptic long-term solar observations (including data for space weather research and forecast), and (5) establishing closer collaboration with other (relevant) IAU Commissions and WGs.

I will maintain the current WG web page until it is replaced by a new WG page. I will also keep you informed when the new working group is created.

Thank you all your participation in the activities related to this IAU Working Group, and I hope you will consider joining the new inter-division WG when it is created.

Alexei Pevtsov, WG Chair