Formation of a Flare-Productive Active Region: Observation and Numerical Simulation of NOAA AR 11158 [SSA]

We present a comparison of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) analysis of NOAA Active Region (AR) 11158 and numerical simulations of flux-tube emergence, aiming to investigate the formation process of this flare-productive AR. First, we use SDO/Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) magnetograms to investigate the photospheric evolution and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) data to analyze the relevant coronal structures. Key features of this quadrupolar region are a long sheared polarity inversion line (PIL) in the central delta-sunspots and a coronal arcade above the PIL. We find that these features are responsible for the production of intense flares, including an X2.2-class event. Based on the observations, we then propose two possible models for the creation of AR 11158 and conduct flux-emergence simulations of the two cases to reproduce this AR. Case 1 is the emergence of a single flux tube, which is split into two in the convection zone and emerges at two locations, while Case 2 is the emergence of two isolated but neighboring tubes. We find that, in Case 1, a sheared PIL and a coronal arcade are created in the middle of the region, which agrees with the AR 11158 observation. However, Case 2 never builds a clear PIL, which deviates from the observation. Therefore, we conclude that the flare-productive AR 11158 is, between the two cases, more likely to be created from a single split emerging flux than from two independent flux bundles.

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S. Toriumi, Y. Iida, K. Kusano, et. al.
Tue, 18 Mar 14