New sunspot cycle could be one of the strongest on record, says NCAR

Credit: cherishthescientist.net

‘Scientists use an extended, 22-year solar cycle to make the forecast’ is the sub-heading to the article. In other words the Hale cycle. At the end of last year The Talkshop detailed Plenty of predictions from a wide range of research groups, including our own, made in 2013. A possible (?) early indicator is that the ‘smoothed minimum’ of sunspots at the start of solar cycle 25 is given by Wikipedia as 1.8, the lowest recorded since cycle 7 (0.2) in 1823.
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In direct contradiction to the official forecast, a team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is predicting that the Sunspot Cycle that started this fall could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began, says NCAR News.

In a new article published in Solar Physics, the research team predicts that Sunspot Cycle 25 will peak with a maximum sunspot number somewhere between approximately 210 and 260, which would put the new cycle in the company of the top few ever observed.

The cycle that just ended, Sunspot Cycle 24, peaked with a sunspot number of 116, and the consensus forecast from a panel of experts convened by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that Sunspot Cycle 25 will be similarly weak. The panel predicts a peak sunspot number of 115.

If the new NCAR-led forecast is borne out, it would lend support to the research team’s unorthodox theory – detailed in a series of papers published over the last decade – that the Sun has overlapping 22-year magnetic cycles that interact to produce the well-known, approximately 11-year sunspot cycle as a byproduct.

The 22-year cycles repeat like clockwork and could be a key to finally making accurate predictions of the timing and nature of sunspot cycles, as well as many of the effects they produce, according to the study’s authors.

“Scientists have struggled to predict both the length and the strength of sunspot cycles because we lack a fundamental understanding of the mechanism that drives the cycle,” said NCAR Deputy Director Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist who led the study.

“If our forecast proves correct, we will have evidence that our framework for understanding the Sun’s internal magnetic machine is on the right path.”

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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December 8, 2020 at 10:09AM

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