Estimating Total Open Heliospheric Magnetic Flux
Over the solar-activity cycle, there are extended periods where significant discrepancies occur between the spacecraft-observed total (unsigned) open magnetic flux and that determined from coronal models. In this article, the total open heliospheric magnetic flux is computed using two different methods and then compared with results obtained from in-situ interplanetary magnetic-field observations. The first method uses two different types of photospheric magnetic-field maps as input to the Wang–Sheeley–Arge (WSA) model: i) traditional Carrington or diachronic maps, and ii) Air Force Data Assimilative Photospheric Flux Transport model synchronic maps. The second method uses observationally derived helium and extreme-ultraviolet coronal-hole maps overlaid on the same magnetic-field maps in order to compute total open magnetic flux. The diachronic and synchronic maps are both constructed using magnetograms from the same source, namely the National Solar Observatory Kitt Peak Vacuum Telescope and Vector Spectromagnetograph. The results of this work show that the total open flux obtained from observationally derived coronal holes agrees remarkably well with that derived from WSA, especially near solar minimum. This suggests that, on average, coronal models capture well the observed large-scale coronal-hole structure over most of the solar cycle. Both methods show considerable deviations from total open flux deduced from spacecraft data, especially near solar maximum, pointing to something other than poorly determined coronal-hole area specification as the source of these discrepancies.