Solar Cycle Update

April 16, 2021: You probably think Solar Cycle 25 is a dud. Think again. Despite long stretches of spotless quiet, the new solar cycle is actually running ahead of schedule. In this plot, the red curve shows NOAA’s predicted sunspot counts for Solar Cycle 25; the orange curve shows the new best fit:

Above: Observed and predicted sunspot numbers: more

“The sun is performing as we expected–maybe even a little better,” says Lisa Upton of Space Systems Research Corporation. She’s a co-chair of the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel. “In 2019, the panel predicted that Solar Cycle 25 would peak in July 2025 (± 8 months) with a maximum sunspot count of 115 ± 10. The current behavior of the sun is consistent with an early onset near the beginning of our predicted range.”

If current trends hold, Solar Cycle 25 could peak as early as 2024, similar in strength to the relatively weak cycle (SC24) that preceded it. Don’t be fooled by the adjective, however. It’s like hurricane season. Even a “weak” season produces hurricanes–and all it takes is one good storm to do a lot of damage.

Above: 10.7cm radio flux, another indicator of solar activity, is also exceeding predictions: more.

“I’m not surprised that people are grumbling about SC25 being a dud,” says Upton. “Weak cycles are typically preceded by long stretches of spotless days, and they are slow to ramp up. All of this is consistent with our prediction.”

Now the waiting begins. As sunspot counts increase over the next year, forecasters will be able to tell if Solar Cycle 25 is *really* following the official prediction or doing something completely different. Predicting the solar cycle is still an infant science, and much uncertainty remains.

Stay tuned.

8 thoughts on “Solar Cycle Update

    • I view it as a pre max dip in sunspot cycle 25th. The have or have not depends on the how the eigenvalues will be influenced by the global turbulences in the heliosphere. Just another veiw of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. How can it be running ahead of schedule after two record solar minimums they did not foresee?

    Also I was presented with a scientific paper I trashed from October 2020 that stated it was about to shoot up and even that admitted that it had never done this before.

    NASA originally had solar maximum 2024 for 2010-11, it arrived in 2014 and cycles are 11 years and we have just gone 3 years in a minimum. It is simple maths to work out NASA and NOAA have gotten it wrong since 2006.

    You have to pay attention and keep track of what they say.

    Many that follow me know that I am the only one that predicted this happening.


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