2022
Ref: SCART-2022-0041

Nonparametric monitoring of sunspot number observations.

Mathieu, Sophie ; Lefèvre, Laure ; von Sachs, Rainer ; Delouille, Veronique ; Ritter, Christian ; Clette, Frédéric


in press to Journal of Quality Technology, (2022)

Abstract: Solar activity is an important driver of long-term climate trends and must be accounted for in climate models. Unfortunately, direct measurements of this quantity over long periods do not exist. The only observation related to solar activity whose records reach back to the seventeenth century are sunspots. Surprisingly, determining the number of sunspots consistently over time has remained until today a challenging statistical problem. It arises from the need of consolidating data from multiple observing stations around the world in a context of low signal-to-noise ratios, non-stationarity, missing data, non-standard distributions and errors of different kind. The data from some stations experience therefore severe and various deviations over time. In this paper, we apply a systematic statistical approach for monitoring these complex and important series. It consists of three steps essential for successful treatment of the data: smoothing on multiple time-scales, monitoring using block bootstrap calibrated CUSUM charts and classifying of out-of-control situations by support vector techniques. This approach allows us to detect a wide range of anomalies (such as sudden jumps or more progressive drifts), unseen in previous analyses. It helps us to identify the causes of major deviations, which are often observer or equipment related. Their detection and identification will contribute to improve future observations. Their elimination or correction in past data will lead to a more precise reconstruction of the world reference index for solar activity: the International Sunspot Number.

Keyword(s): solar activity ; sunspot number ; monitoring
DOI: 10.1080/00224065.2022.2041376


The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Solar Physics & Space Weather (SIDC)
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles



 Record created 2022-02-15, last modified 2022-02-15