Updated sunspot group number reconstruction for 1749–1996 using the active day fraction method⋆
1 Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2 Space Climate Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3 Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4 Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, 194021 St. Petersburg, Russia
Received: 4 October 2016
Accepted: 6 March 2017
Aims. Sunspot number series are composed from observations of hundreds of different observers that require careful normalization to standard conditions. Here we present a new normalized series of the number of sunspot groups for the period 1749–1996.
Methods. The reconstruction is based on the active day fraction (ADF) method, which is slightly updated with respect to previous works, and a revised database of sunspot group observations.
Results. Stability of some key solar observers has been evaluated against the composite series. The Royal Greenwich Observatory dataset appears relatively stable since the 1890s but is approximately 10% too low before that. A declining trend of 10–15% in the quality of Wolfer’s observations is found between the 1880s and 1920s, suggesting that using him as the reference observer may lead to additional uncertainties. Wolf (small telescope) appears relatively stable between the 1860s and 1890s, without any obvious trend. The new reconstruction reflects the centennial variability of solar activity as evaluated using the singular spectrum analysis method. It depicts a highly significant feature of the modern grand maximum of solar activity in the second half of the 20th century, being a factor 1.33–1.77 higher than during the 18 and 19th centuries.
Conclusions. The new series of the sunspot group numbers with monthly and annual resolution is provided forming a basis for new studies of the solar variability and solar dynamo for the last 250 yr.
Key words: Sun: activity / sunspots
Monthly values of the reconstructed sunspot are available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/601/A109
© ESO, 2017