Solar wind - Oxford Reference

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Subscriber: null; date: 28 August 2016

solar wind

Source:
A Dictionary of Weather
Author(s):

Storm Dunlop

solar wind 

The stream of charged particles from the Sun's corona (3), predominantly consisting of electrons and protons, with some atomic nuclei. This flow carries the Sun's magnetic field into space, and at the distance of the Earth's orbit generally has a minimum velocity of 350–400 km s−1. At minima of the solar cycle, high-speed streams are observed, which may reach 750 km s−1. The interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's geomagnetic field gives rise to the magnetosphere. When the solar wind is highly active, the flux of cosmic rays is reduced, leading to a drop in the production of radioactive carbon (14C) in the atmosphere (see carbon dating). It has recently been determined that events with greatly enhanced proton fluxes (known as solar proton events, SPEs) trigger a decrease in ozone in the ozone layer and an increase in the upper troposphere.

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