We study the solar-cycle variation of the meridional flow in the near-surface layers of the solar convection zone from the surface to a depth of 16 Mm. We have analyzed Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) Dopplergrams with a ring-diagram analysis covering about 13 years (July 2001 – October 2014), from the maximum of Cycle 23 through the rising phase of Cycle 24, and Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) Dopplergrams covering more than four years (May 2010 – January 2015). GONG and HMI lead to similar meridional flows during common epochs and latitudes. The meridional flow averaged over a Carrington rotation is poleward up to about 70∘ in both hemispheres at all depths after correcting for systematic effects. The flow amplitude peaks at about 40∘ latitude with an amplitude of about 16 to 20 ms−1 depending on depth. The meridional flow varies with the solar cycle; the flow amplitudes are larger during cycle minimum than during maximum at low- and mid-latitudes. The flows are mainly faster or more-poleward-than-average on the equatorward side of the mean latitude of activity and slower or less-poleward-than-average on its poleward side. The residual meridional flow converges near the mean latitude of activity. A comparison with the corresponding zonal flow derived from GONG and HMI data shows that the bands of more-poleward-than-average meridional flow coincide with the bands of faster-than-average zonal flow and that the bands of less-poleward-than-average meridional flow coincide with the bands of slower-than-average zonal flow. This implies that the residual flows are cyclonic. The bands of fast meridional flow appear at mid-latitudes about three years before magnetic activity of Cycle 24 is present in synoptic maps.
- Helioseismology, observations
- Velocity fields, interior