Modeling Solar Spectral Irradiance and Total Magnetic Flux Using Sunspot Areas

We show that daily sunspot areas can be used in a simple, single parameter model to reconstruct daily variations in several other solar parameters, including solar spectral irradiance and total magnetic flux. The model assumes that changes in any given parameter can be treated mathematically as the response of the system to the emergence of a sunspot. Using cotemporal observational data, we compute the finite impulse response (FIR) function that describes that response in detail, and show that the response function has been approximately stationary over the time period for which data exist. For each parameter, the impulse response function describes the physical evolution of that part of a solar active region that is the source of the measured variability. We show that the impulse response functions are relatively narrow functions, no more than 3 years wide overall. Each exhibits a pre-active, active, and post-active region component; the active region component dominates the variability of most of the parameters studied.