We have studied long-term variations of galactic cosmic-ray (GCR) intensity in relation to the sunspot number (SSN) during the most recent solar cycles. This study analyses the time lag between the GCR intensity and SSN, and hysteresis plots of the GCR count rate against SSN for Solar Cycles 20 – 23, to validate a methodology against previous results in the literature, before applying the method to provide a timely update on the behaviour of Cycle 24. Plots of SSN versus GCR show a clear difference between the odd- and even-numbered cycles. Linear and elliptical models have been fit to the data, with the linear fit and elliptical model proving the more suitable model for even- and odd-numbered solar-activity cycles, respectively, in agreement with previous literature. Through the application of these methods for Solar Cycle 24, it has been shown that Cycle 24 experienced a lag of two to four months between the GCR intensity and SSN, and this follows the trend of the preceding activity cycles, albeit with a slightly longer lag than previous even-numbered cycles. It has been shown through the hysteresis analysis that the linear fit is a better representative model for Cycle 24, as the ellipse model does not show a significant improvement, which is also in agreement with previous even-numbered cycles.
Bibliographical note19 pages, 10 figures, 6 tables; accepted for publication in Solar Physics
- Cosmic rays, galactic
- Solar cycle, observations
- Sunspots, statistics