Solar wind scaling law

N. A. Schwadron, D. J. McComas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


We derive a simple, robust scaling law, which explains naturally how the well-known anticorrelation between final solar wind speed and freezing-in temperature results from the loss of radiated energy in the corona. Furthermore, if the Sun injects roughly fixed electromagnetic energy per particle, this law provides a unified theory for the source of solar wind: fast tenuous solar wind from dark coronal holes; slow dense wind from hotter, brighter regions; and bound but unstable plasma in extremely hot regions, which may be related to solar transients. The scaling law is not an extension or a new variant of previous solar wind models, but rather a requirement on all solar wind models, which should apply quite generally to magnetically driven winds. Thus, this paper reveals an underlying connection between the solar wind and its coronal source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1395-1403
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Dec 20 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Solar wind
  • Sun: corona


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