Meridional flow in the Sun's convection zone is a single cell in each hemisphere

Laurent Gizon, Robert H. Cameron, Majid Pourabdian, Zhi Chao Liang, Damien Fournier, Aaron C. Birch, Chris S. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Sun's magnetic field is generated by subsurface motions of the convecting plasma. The latitude at which the magnetic field emerges through the solar surface (as sunspots) drifts toward the equator over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. We use helioseismology to infer the meridional flow (in the latitudinal and radial directions) over two solar cycles covering 1996-2019. Two data sources are used, which agree during their overlap period of 2001-2011. The time-averaged meridional flow is shown to be a single cell in each hemisphere, carrying plasma toward the equator at the base of the convection zone with a speed of ~4 meters per second at 45° latitude. Our results support the flux-transport dynamo model, which explains the drift of sunspot-emergence latitudes through the meridional flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1472
Number of pages4
Issue number6498
StatePublished - Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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