About a year ago we took a look at the NASA forecast for the Sunspot Cycle 24 (meaning the 24th recorded cycle since the year 1755 – it is as random as that) which started with the sunspot minimum of (somewhere around) the year 2008.
In about a year from now the solar maximum of the current cycle is forecast to reach its peak. NASA predicts this maximum will lie at a sunspot number of 73 – NOAA (shown below) thinks the Sun will be just a little bit more active – and predicts a sunspot maximum of 80.
In both cases Cycle 24 will be weaker than almost all preceding cycles – leading some to think the Sun could be slowly moving to another Grand Solar Minimum somewhere beyond the year 2017 (when Cycle 24 is forecast to end). Noteworthy also is the observed sunspots lag somewhat behind on the forecast. There has been a strong peak at the end of 2011 – ever since sunspots have been in the range between 30 and 70. For climate forecasters: that still counts as elevated solar activity – yet weakly elevated.
© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org