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      The behavior of transverse waves in nonuniform solar flux tubes. II. Implications for coronal loop seismology

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          Seismology of coronal loops using observations of damped transverse oscillations in combination with results from theoretical models is a tool to indirectly infer physical parameters in the solar atmospheric plasma. Existing seismology schemes based on approximations to the period and damping time of kink oscillations are often used beyond their theoretical range of applicability. These approximations assume that the variation of density across the loop is confined to a nonuniform layer much thinner than the radius of the loop, but the results of the inversion problem often do not satisfy this preliminary hypothesis. Here, we determine the accuracy of the analytic approximations to the period and damping time, and its impact on seismology estimates, when largely nonuniform loops are considered. We find that the accuracy of the approximations when used beyond their range of applicability is strongly affected by the form of the density profile across the loop, that is observationally unknown and so must be arbitrarily imposed as part of the theoretical model. The error associated with the analytic approximations can be larger than 50% even for relatively thin nonuniform layers. This error directly affects the accuracy of approximate seismology estimates compared to actual numerical inversions. In addition, assuming different density profiles can produce noncoincident intervals of the seismic variables in inversions of the same event. The ignorance about the true shape of density variation across the loop is an important source of error that may dispute the reliability of parameters seismically inferred assuming an ad hoc density profile.

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          18 December 2013


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          Accepted for publication in ApJ


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