The previous section focused on the detailed structure of sunspots down to the smallest currently observable scales. While many aspects of sunspot fine structure can be understood to a large degree separated from the overall evolution of sunspots, a comprehensive understanding of sunspots requires to model the processes of their formation, dynamic evolution and decay. Models that focus on the latter have to address much longer time and length scales. As a consequence, such models require major simplifications or are computationally expensive. It is currently not possible to describe the entire process of sunspot formation and decay consistently within a single model. Typically, processes in the lower and upper convection zone are treated independently due to the vast separation of time and length scales. The evolution of sunspots after the emergence process has been modeled primarily through simplified models.
For more details on the flux emergence process we refer here also to the reviews of Moreno-Insertis (1997), Fisher et al. (2000), Fan (2009), and further references therein.
Living Rev. Solar Phys. 8, (2011), 3
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.