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theartist

Temporal Location of Solar Minimum Nadir for SC24/25 Transition

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In this thread, evidence will be presented strongly supporting the case that Solar Minimum Nadir (SMN), of the currently unfolding SC24/25 transition epoch, will occur in December 2019.  There is a remote possibility [i.e., <10%, (see Note 1.)] that SMN could occur in November 2019.  There is also the remote possibility [i.e., <15% chance, (see Note 1.)] that SMN might still occur later than December 2019.

(Note 1.  I plan to discuss the remote possibilites, for which SMN will not occur in December 2019, later in this thread.)

Two particular pieces of evidence will be presented that form the basis of the case:

  1. The prime evidence is results from computing the SMN under various particular scenarios-of-interest.
  2. The second corroborating piece of evidence comes from evaluation of the Photospheric Magnetic Structures in the Synoptic Magnetograms.

1. Computation of SMN

The Solar Minimum Nadir of a solar cycle is scientifically defined to be the minimum of the weighted centered-moving average (i.e., the Smoothed Monthly Mean) of the International Sunspot Number Monthly Mean values, according to the following formula:

 Rs= (0.5 Rm-6 + Rm-5 + Rm-4 + Rm-3 + Rm-2 + Rm-1 + Rm + Rm+1 + Rm+2 + Rm+3 + Rm+4 + Rm+5 + 0.5 Rm+6 ) / 12

This formula is further explained at the following URL: http://www.sidc.be/silso/node/52.

In the above formula, Rm-6, Rm-5, Rm-4, Rm-3, Rm-2 and Rm-1 are knowns.  Rm is the monthly mean value for the current month, Dec 2019, and it will likely be officially determined as to have the value 1.7 +0.1, assuming there are no more sunspots observed over the remaining four days of this month.

We evaluated twelve (12) different CASE scenarios in the computation of the theoretical Smoothed Monthly Mean (SMM).  We used a spreadsheet, Figure 1, to compute the Smoothed Monthly Mean values according to the above formula:

2052652613_Spreadsheetexplanation.thumb.jpg.8a0d8f9b96d8bf741efa2be33d164f65.jpg 

Figure 1.  In the above picture of the spreadsheet, monthly mean CASE Values were plugged into the left column, and results of the Smoothed Monthly Mean for each CASE were computed in the right column.  

 

The twelve different CASE scenarios evaluated are explained as follows:

  • CASE 1:  Plug in the monthly mean sunspot values from SC23, beginning in Jan 2009 (the month after SC23 SMN).  The idea here is that SC25 will progress in a manner similar to the opening progression of SC24.
  • CASE 2:  Increase the CASE 1 plug-in values by 107%, according to the upper bound of NOAA's latest forecast.  NOAA's SC25 forecast for Peak SMM was 115 +10. The upper bound of that forecast, 125, was 107% greater than SC24's Peak SMM value of 116.4.
  • CASE 3:  Multiply CASE 1 plug-in values by 90%, according to the lower bound of NOAA's latest forecast. The lower bound of that forecast, 105, was 90% of SC24's Peak SMM value of 116.4.
  • CASE 4:  Multiply CASE 1 plug-in values by 73%.  This scenario assumes SC25 is headed toward Dalton Minimum levels, with a Peak SMM of 85, which is 73% of SC24's Peak of 116.4.
  • CASE 5:  Multiply CASE 1 plug-in values by 50%, which is in the realm of the Kitiashvili/NASA forecast.
  • CASE 6:  Multiply CASE 1 plug-in values by 151%, which is how much higher SC15's Peak was than SC24's Peak.  SC25 will likely have total spotless days comparable to SC15, per this comment in another thread.
  • CASE 1A:  Multiply CASE 1 plug-in values by a 'knockdown-factor'.
  • CASE 2A:  Multiply CASE 2 plug-in values by said 'knockdown-factor'.
  • CASE 3A:  Multiply CASE 3 plug-in values by said 'knockdown-factor'.
  • CASE 4A:  Multiply CASE 4 plug-in values by said 'knockdown-factor'.
  • CASE 5A:  Multiply CASE 5 plug-in values by said 'knockdown-factor'.
  • CASE 6A:  Multiply CASE 6 plug-in values by said 'knockdown-factor'.

The logic in the 'knockdown-factor' is that SC25 is starting from a lower (deeper) base than SC24's start; consequently, even if SC25 eventually exceeds SC24 in magnitude, it nonetheless will first take a few months to get back to equivalent footing from which SC24 started.  The 'knockdown factor' used was 0.741, which is the ratio of '05/2019 Smoothed Monthly Mean' to '05/2008 Smoothed Monthly Mean' (i.e., 4.0/5.4).

Figure 2 below presents the spreadsheet results for CASE 1 through CASE 6. Figure 3 below presents the spreadsheet results for CASE 1A through CASE 6A. The Solar Minimum Nadir corresponding to the computed SMM's for each CASE is highlighted in red.

1452185885_SMNCASE1-CASE6.thumb.jpg.537358fb76c65c979df471e92a7b6f65.jpg

Figure 2.  Results of computing the Smoothed Monthly Mean into the future for CASE 1 through CASE 6.

 

1309264840_SMNCASE1A-CASE6A(knockdownfixed).thumb.jpg.030540d31ab6b5b1a8b9c946b040b689.jpg

Figure 3.  Results of computing the Smoothed Monthly Mean into the future for CASE 1A through CASE 6A.

 

(to be continued) 

Edited by theartist
Fixed the value of 'knockdown-factor'.

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I have to disagree with you in your assumptions with the utmost respect. Background for my assumptions for when the solar minimum is reached I will come back to. It is very likely that the solar minimum will not be reached until the end of 2021. In my opinion, SC24 will last for 13 years.

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Hi Norwegian, thanks for your feedback here.  There was something gnawing at me when trying to consider all possibilities, and so I put up a 15% chance with that outside possibility of low-spot count in spite of the temporal phasing of the reactor dynamo.

BTW, Norwegian, did you happen to see the recent news on Betelgeuse dimming? Scientists are puzzled how rapidly it has dimmed, more than normal, in the span of just the past two months.  I thought it was a little bizarre that I stumbled across the news on it not long after posting (again) about the 'strange crash of the 677.98nm radiance measurement' at the end of this comment yesterday

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7 hours ago, The Norwegian said:

It is very likely that the solar minimum will not be reached until the end of 2021.

Under that scenario, what is your estimated:

  • Smoothed Monthly Maximum for SC25?
  • Total number of spotless days between SC24 Maximum and SC25 Maximum?

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On 12/27/2019 at 11:36 PM, theartist said:

Under that scenario, what is your estimated:

  • Smoothed Monthly Maximum for SC25?
  • Total number of spotless days between SC24 Maximum and SC25 Maximum?

So far into the future, with my knowledge and information would only become wild guesses. What I can say, however, is that 2020 will exceed 300 spot-free days. SC25 will be significantly weaker than SC24. Around January 31, 2020 and February 15, 2020, (give or take a few days) which are two dates that should give sun spots. The strength of these could say something about whether we are still on a downward trend or not. The sun spots around January 31 will come in the middle of the solar disk, while February 15, the sun spots will come high on the northern half and probably belong to SC25.

Edited by The Norwegian
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We just hit 280 for 2019 - and as I’ve been reading this forum for about a month or so - I believe it was your (the Norwegian) prediction to be at 280 or more in 2019.   So 300 in 2020 is as good as it gets.   With the two recent SC25 sunspot regions appearing in both the north and south (above 32?) on December 24-26  - I do have difficulty seeing any new regions appear at the mid latitudes.. over the next year?      Wouldn’t this break historic trends?  Or were the last two remnants from 24 and not truly part of SC25??  
 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, cosnow said:

We just hit 280 for 2019 - and as I’ve been reading this forum for about a month or so - I believe it was your (the Norwegian) prediction to be at 280 or more in 2019.   So 300 in 2020 is as good as it gets.   With the two recent SC25 sunspot regions appearing in both the north and south (above 32?) on December 24-26  - I do have difficulty seeing any new regions appear at the mid latitudes.. over the next year?      Wouldn’t this break historic trends?  Or were the last two remnants from 24 and not truly part of SC25??  
 

 

 

I think I said between 278-283 days without sunspots. In the days around 15 January 2020 we will be able to get mid-latitudes sunspots. It is not a question of whether they come there, because they do. The question is whether they will be strong enough so that we see them, since we are at a deep minimum now. If I am not mistaken, the sunspots north on the solar disc a few days ago belonged to SC24, not SC25.

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17 minutes ago, The Norwegian said:

I think I said between 278-283 days without sunspots. In the days around 15 January 2020 we will be able to get mid-latitudes sunspots. It is not a question of whether they come there, because they do. The question is whether they will be strong enough so that we see them, since we are at a deep minimum now. If I am not mistaken, the sunspots north on the solar disc a few days ago belonged to SC24, not SC25.

On a different website I read yesterday the last two sunspot regions (during 24-26 December numbers 2753 and 2754) belonged to SC25 (cited as according to either NOAA or NASA - but when I just looked again those references were removed).

A general question to all -  did the last two sunspot regions (24-26 December- regions 2753 and 2754) belong to SC24 or to SC25??? This seems important.

 

 

 

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I have only recently started taking an interest in sunspots. What is it that gives you certainty that 2020 will exceed 300 spot-free days?

Can anyone explain to me why the predictions show rising sunspot numbers, while the F10.7 flux continues to fall?

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On the subtopic of spotless days between SC24 and SC25-- This just makes me ask the following question: About 2 days ago on the SWPC (old SEC) site, it reported 2 sun spots, but the next day the count was back to zero again.  Was that just my imagination, or did the spots die as quickly as they appeared (magnetically too weak)?

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Check our archive to see the sunspot regions that where there a few days ago. They where short lived (lasted two days) and are now spotless plages (as indicated on our solar activity page). The two regions had an opposite polarity meaning that they are from the next solar cycle which should start somewhere in 2020. New cycle spots are often weak, once the new cycle gets more active (more regions and no more old cycle regions) the activity and size of those regions will get higher/bigger.

@cosnow the location of the two regions where at a high latitude and where reversed in polarity and that’s a 100% sure they are new cycle regions. You can always check the magnetogram images and compare those to a sunspot region of two years ago with a beta magnetic classification and you’ll see its polarity is reversed. 

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18 minutes ago, Vancanneyt Sander said:

which should start somewhere in 2020.

Are you qualifying that statement with it is your opinion, or that it is what the latest NOAA forecast is saying, and if it is the former, do you have any supporting analysis?

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Well, it’s based on my own experience of the last two solar cycles. With the previous solar minimum, it took way more time to see spots of the next solar cycle. In fact the previous minimum was dreadfully long, but we now saw multiple SC25 regions and it’s also been a while already that we’ve seen a SC24 region. So if no more SC24 regions will appear, and only new SC25 regions, we’ll see in 2020 the official start of SC25 which is in line with the standard curve method.

and with that, I don’t think 2020 will have more spotless days, I do think 2019 was the peak in spotless days of this minimum.

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@cosnow and @Stubby_Night, welcome to the forum.

Spörer's Law (latitude) and Hale's Law (polarity) are taken into account when assessing which cycle a sunspot belongs to.

Regarding SC25 sunspots, here are the particulars on polarity:

  • NORTHERN Hemisphere:     BLACK trailing                  WHITE leading  
    •                                       YELLOW trailing               GREEN leading
    •                                   - (negative polarity)        + (positive polarity)
  • SOUTHERN Hemisphere:     WHITE trailing                   BLACK leading  
    •                                       GREEN trailing                  YELLOW leading
    •                                   + (positive polarity)          - (negative polarity)

 

1 hour ago, Stubby Knight said:

This just makes me ask the following question: About 2 days ago on the SWPC (old SEC) site, it reported 2 sun spots, but the next day the count was back to zero again.  Was that just my imagination, or did the spots die as quickly as they appeared (magnetically too weak)?

They did die quickly, which is a sign of magnetic weakness.  But with regard to whether a spot is counted as a spot, I consider the keepers of the International Sunspot Number (ISN) to be the official sunspot counters; their website:  http://www.sidc.be/silso/eisnplot.

14 hours ago, cosnow said:

I do have difficulty seeing any new regions appear at the mid latitudes.. over the next year?  Wouldn’t this break historic trends?

If you go back and read my posts, I've been making the case to assess "photospheric magnetic structures" (mag-structures) observed on the magnetograms.  Mag-structures do not always manifest enough magnetic activity above the photosphere to get assigned an Active Region number, nor manifest a sunspot.  So yes, it is still possible to see mag-structures at mid latitudes over the next year, and whether we do or not, to what degree, would not necessarily be breaking 'historic trends'.

15 hours ago, cosnow said:

were the last two remnants from 24 and not truly part of SC25??

Research the significance of the ButterFly Diagram, and what it represents, in terms of solar cycle overlap.  The case has arguably been made elsewhere that the first SC25 sunspots appeared (? I think, without looking it up) a couple of years ago.  Another important thing to investigate is the Magnetic Butterfly Diagram.  It is a topic in the threads titled, "Synoptic Magnetograms; SC24 Minimum Forecasting", and "SC23 vs. SC24 Minimum Comparison, using MDI & HMI Synoptic Charts".

Edited by theartist

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1 hour ago, theartist said:

with regard to whether a spot is counted as a spot, I consider the keepers of the International Sunspot Number (ISN) to be the official sunspot counters; their website:  http://www.sidc.be/silso/eisnplot.

Also, this article's "List of solar cycles" (a nice reference with consolidated data) is based on the ISN.

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NOAA and NASA are showing very different forecasts for SSN and 10.7cm radio flux.  The difference is most obvious in the SSN where NASA seem very "optimistic" with their modelling curves for SSN, less so for radio flux which is closer to NOAA.   2019 has just bumped 1878 into 4th place with 2019 now in 3rd behind 1901 and 1913 adding more weight to the argument that we are heading for the longer solar cycles at the turn of the century with this minimum having 900+ spotless days.  I am supporting The Norwegian in their forecast for a later rather than a sooner Nadir.

https://www.nasa.gov/msfcsolar/

https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/predicted-sunspot-number-and-radio-flux

http://www.sidc.be/silso/spotless

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9 hours ago, Capricopia said:

NOAA and NASA are showing very different forecasts

Thanks Capricopia for bringing those 'forecasts' to the table.

9 hours ago, Capricopia said:

seem very "optimistic"

By "optimistic", do you mean 'high' or 'low' sunspot activity'? Recall, Kitiashvili's 'low activity' forecast was considered by NASA as "favorable for next decade exploration" , but that may not be optimistic from the perspective of the aurora chasers.

9 hours ago, Capricopia said:

 2019 has just bumped 1878 into 4th place with 2019 now in 3rd behind 1901 and 1913 adding more weight to the argument that we are heading for the longer solar cycles at the turn of the century with this minimum having 900+ spotless days.

Early 20th century cycles were NOT notably "longer"; early 19th century cycles (Dalton Minimum) were.

 

 ------------------------------       ------------------------        ----------------------------------------

 

3 hours ago, noobsauce said:

This does not constitute an answer per SWLs guidelines.  It seemed weird to me also in determining SC 24/25 SMN. 

noobsauce, from my perspective, your post has some good info, mixed in with some unnecessary (or wrong) info, however...right off the bat, your opening statement is confusing.  What are "SWL guidelines", and what specifically seemed "weird" to you in "determining SC 24/25 SMN"? If it is the NASA and swpc.NOAA 'forecasts' that (maybe understandably) seemed "weird" to you, why are you conflating that with these mysterious "SWL guidelines"?

3 hours ago, noobsauce said:

NASA uses a proprietary modeling program which is reviewed by SMEs chosen by NASA at arms length from each other and  revised accordingly after NASA review/acceptance. The forecast is plotted on a 50th percentile

Where are you getting the information that SME's "chosen by NASA at arm's length from each other" came up with the forecast plotting the 50th percentile?  I (very) quickly scanned the memo, and it seems to indicate this is Marshall's analysis using the technique they described? Maybe Marshall (MSC) even has long-term government personnel on the payroll performing the analysis, so where did the conjecture "revised accordingly after NASA review" come from, since NASA (Marshall) is performing the analysis?

3 hours ago, noobsauce said:

The resultant graph encompasses a large swath and the 50th percentile halves the gap....(and)...NASA. “The estimation technique is used to predict the remaining of the current cycle, but it is not able to predict the next solar cycle at this time. However, for engineering applications and mission planning an extended forecast for the next solar cycle is given below. The values shown for the next cycle are those of a mean cycle obtained from averaging previous cycles of 13-month smoothed indices along with the calculated statistical bounds.

Yep. Their 'forecast' is just a plot of past cycle averages; elsewhere in the memo it mentions trying to make some adjustment to the 'average cycle forecast' using data from the latest cycle.   

Edited by theartist

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12 hours ago, Capricopia said:

The difference is most obvious in the SSN where NASA seem very "optimistic" with their modelling curves for SSN, less so for radio flux which is closer to NOAA.

Caprioca, that NOAA link Forecast you posted (which evidently has NOTHING to do with the NOAA assembled 'expert' Panel that noobsauce describes above, and which I first discussed over in the thread titled, "Solar Cycle 25 Predictions/Forecasts by 1. 'The Panel' & 2. NASA") has a huge HIGH/LOW spread, and even the PREDICTED values run off toward zero.  As an exercise, I plugged all three (i.e., PREDICTED, HIGH & LOW) of their predicted sunspot number (https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/predicted-sunspot-number-and-radio-flux) into the spreadsheet discussed at the beginning of this thread, and here are the results:

1016510776_ScreenShot2019-12-30at5_21_39AM.thumb.png.dbba2222a226a3f00474378d55bfbe57.png

The unrealistic HIGH values (an average of past cycles) put SMN at June 2019.  The PREDICTED and LOW forecasts eventually run off to a value of zero, and so the location of SMN will consequently run indefinitely off into the future.  I don't know for certain, but I'm inclined to think that not too much thought went into the swpc.NOAA forecast, rather than them trying to convey they think sunspot activity will continue to collapse, essentially saying they think we are going into a Maunder Minimum.  Recall, it was the same NOAA that put out "the latest 'Panel' forecast" [calling for SMN to occur in April, 2020 (+/- 6 months)], which contradicts the 'forecast' at the link Capricopia posted, even though her link states (under the "Usage" tab under the posted values) the following, "Multi-year forecast of the monthly sunspot number and the monthly F10.7. Predicted values are based on the consensus of the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel."  [Also recall, the latest 'Panel' forecast release statement from swpc.NOAA included the erroneous claim that SC24 was an "average" (intensity?) cycle.]  

Edited by theartist

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On 12/28/2019 at 4:50 AM, 3gMike said:

What is it that gives you certainty that 2020 will exceed 300 spot-free days?

3gMike, welcome to the forum.  I'm not sure anyone here has concluded 2020 will exceed 300 spot-free days.  (Whoops, my bad, I see Norwegian has changed his earlier forecast (from the other thread), and is now saying >300 spotless days in 2020.)

 Here are the two graphs 'at play':

336315077_SpotlessDays.thumb.jpg.07128dd130dec2170624f1e9fdd6dcb5.jpg

1869264997_Spotlessdays(SILSOgreengraph).thumb.jpg.35a8b7fb87cbc5907b90777a662f4f9f.jpg

Those graphs were discussed over on the thread titled, "Synoptic Magnetograms; SC24 Minimum Forecasting".

On 12/28/2019 at 4:50 AM, 3gMike said:

Can anyone explain to me why the predictions show rising sunspot numbers, while the F10.7 flux continues to fall?

There have been predictions all over the map, but the F10.7cm Flux is not "continuing to fall".

Here is an updated F10.7cm plot:

2133175678_F10.7cmFlux123019.thumb.jpg.69224103293f282cd61349700c282e46.jpg

In the above graph, SC24/25 is overlaid on SC23/24 with the assumption that temporal equivalency between the cycles places the SC24/25 Solar Minimum Nadir (SMN) in just a few days from now. However, whether the SC24/25 SMN is 32 days away, 72 days away, or even behind us by 32 days, etc., nonetheless, something to keep in mind is that "Terminator" (or "Onset", "The Step", etc.)* was still more than two years after the SC23/24 SMN.

(*Note, the terms "Terminator", "Onset", or "The Step" are used interchangeably to denote when cycle activity picks up in earnest.  These parameters are discussed in more detail over in the thread titled, "Synoptic Magnetograms; SC24 Minimum Forecasting".)

 

Edited by theartist

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Thanks,  I can see how you arrive at your estimate but that does not seem to support The Norwegian's confidence in more than 300 spots spotless days for 2020. My question re F10.7 flux vs sunspots really referred to the graphs presented on the Solar Cycle progression page of this website. The F10.7 flux, currently around 70, is shown dropping to 58.9 by December 2022 whereas the SSN are shown as increasing already, by whichever method is chosen for forecasting.

 

Edit: Actually, having reviewed number of sunspots spotless days to date (644), and assuming the tentative forecast for >950 for this minimum is correct, it would theoretically be possible to have more than 300 spotless days in 2020 followed by a very rapid decline in 2021.

Edited by 3gMike
Correct error
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23 minutes ago, 3gMike said:

I can see how you arrive at your estimate

Which "estimate" are you referring to?  Unlike a few short months ago, there are now a handful of contributors to this forum, with different views on the upcoming SC25, so you'll need to be a little more specific (and if it is a matter of misunderstanding, then we can try to clear it up).  

 

26 minutes ago, 3gMike said:

My question re F10.7 flux vs sunspots really referred to the graphs presented on the Solar Cycle progression page of this website. The F10.7 flux, currently around 70, is shown dropping to 58.9 by December 2022 whereas the SSN are shown as increasing already, by whichever method is chosen for forecasting.

When you say "this website", which website are you referring to?  The spaceweatherlive.com website has several sections, including the forum we are communicating in, but I'm not aware of it having a "Solar Cycle progression page".

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Thanks for clarifying.  So it looks like that web page is repeating what SWPC is saying here: https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression.  Based on the discussion above, do you agree that SWPC's forecast is suspect, if not ridiculous?  They are showing the F10.7cm bottoming out at the end of 2023, yet they indicate their predictions are following 'the Panel's' forecast, where we read under "details":

"The forecast comes from the Solar Cycle Prediction Panel representing NOAA, the International Space Environmental Services (ISES), and NASA.  This amounts to the ‘official’ forecast for the solar cycle.  The Prediction Panel forecasts the sunspot number expected for solar maximum and had predicted a maximum of 90 occurring in May, 2013.  While awaiting final confirmation, all evidence points to the most recent solar maximum having peaked at 82 in April, 2014.  This was within the expected range for the peak, but occurred significantly later than predicted."

Firstly, it seems like maybe they haven't updated their text from last cycle?  So do they really buy into what they are showing there, or not?  And are they still using 'ISES' (whoever that is)?

Edited by theartist

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20 minutes ago, theartist said:

Thanks for clarifying.  So it looks like that web page is repeating what SWPC is saying here: https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/solar-cycle-progression.  Based on the discussion above, do you agree that SWPC's forecast is suspect, if not ridiculous?  They are showing the F10.7cm bottoming out at the end of 2023, yet they indicate their predictions are following 'the Panel's' forecast, where we read under "details":

"The forecast comes from the Solar Cycle Prediction Panel representing NOAA, the International Space Environmental Services (ISES), and NASA.  This amounts to the ‘official’ forecast for the solar cycle.  The Prediction Panel forecasts the sunspot number expected for solar maximum and had predicted a maximum of 90 occurring in May, 2013.  While awaiting final confirmation, all evidence points to the most recent solar maximum having peaked at 82 in April, 2014.  This was within the expected range for the peak, but occurred significantly later than predicted."

Firstly, it seems like maybe they haven't updated their text from last cycle?  So do they really buy into what they are showing there, or not?  And are they still using 'ISES' (whoever that is)?

Bear in mind that I am still attempting to get to grips with all this but I have to say that, based on what I have seen thus far, SWPC's forecast does seem to be somewhat inconsistent with the Panel verdict.

Perhaps it is a case of there being many conflicting views coming from Panel members. You queried who is represented by ISES. In fact it represents SWPC and SIDC, along with a lot of other national bodies.  Their website can be found here http://www.spaceweather.org/

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