April 5, 2022: New sunspot counts from NOAA confirm that Solar Cycle 25 is racing ahead of the official forecast–and the gap is growing:
Sunspot counts have now exceeded predictions for 18 straight months. The monthly value at the end of March was more than twice the forecast, and the highest in nearly 7 years.
The “official forecast” comes from the Solar Cycle Prediction Panel, a group of scientists representing NOAA, NASA and International Space Environmental Services (ISES). The Panel predicted that Solar Cycle 25 would peak in July 2025 as a relatively weak cycle, similar in magnitude to its predecessor Solar Cycle 24. Instead, Solar Cycle 25 is shaping up to be stronger.
In March 2022, the sun produced 146 solar flares, including one X-flare and 13 M-flares. Auroras were sighted as far south as Colorado (+38N) and Nebraska (+42N). Multiple shortwave radio blackouts disrupted communications on ships at sea and airplanes flying over the poles. If current trends continue, April will be even busier. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: SMS Text