Scientists charged with forecasting the next 11-year solar cycle say that it’s likely to be weak — similar to the current one, cycle 24, which is the weakest in over 100 years.
Solar Cycle Prediction Panel experts have said Solar Cycle 25 will likely have a slow start but is anticipated to peak between 2023 and 2026 with a sunspot range of 95 to 130.
While this is well below the average number of sunspots per cycle, which ranges from 140 to 220, the panel has ‘high confidence’ that the coming cycle will break the trend of weakening solar activity seen over the past four cycles.
“We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24: another fairly weak cycle, preceded by a long, deep minimum,” said panel co-chair Lisa Upton, Ph.D., solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp.
“The expectation that Cycle 25 will be comparable in size to Cycle 24 means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21-24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”
…just to put their ‘high confidence’ into perspective, solar cycle forecasting is something of a new science.
To put it politely, the scientific community is useless at it.
Out of 150 predictions just two scientists correctly forecast that this current solar cycle (24) would be weaker than its predecessor, cycle 23.
You can see just how far off those other 148 scientists were in the graph below.
(Also note the panel’s predictions for cycle 25)
One of those correct predictions came from Professor Valentina Zharkova.
Her latest research indicates we’re headed into a super Grand Solar Minimum, as all four of the sun’s magnetic fields go out of phase — read more on that here.
And here’s another relevant article, on how a change in solar activity might affect Earth’s climate:
“While we are not predicting a particularly active Solar Cycle 25,” said Doug Biesecker, Ph.D., panel co-chair and a solar physicist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, “violent eruptions from the sun can occur at any time.”
An example of this occurred on July 23, 2012 when a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) missed the Earth but enveloped NASA’s STEREO-A satellite.
A 2013 study estimated that the U.S. would have suffered up to $2.6 trillion in damages, particularly to electrical infrastructure such as the power grid, if this CME had been directed toward Earth.
The cycles suggest we’re entering a period unlike anything modern civilization has had to deal with.
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift