NOAA Logo

NWS Logo

Organizations

Space Weather Prediction Center

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 08:00:50

Main menu

NOAA Scales mini

minimize icon
Space Weather Conditions
24-Hour Observed Maximums
R
no data
S
no data
G
no data
Latest Observed
R
no data
S
no data
G
no data
R1-R2 --
R3-R5 --
S1 or greater --
G
no data
R1-R2 --
R3-R5 --
S1 or greater --
G
no data
R1-R2 --
R3-R5 --
S1 or greater --
G
no data
maximize icon
R
no data
S
no data
G
no data
Current Space Weather Conditions
R1 (Minor) Radio Blackout Impacts
close
HF Radio: Weak or minor degradation of HF radio communication on sunlit side, occasional loss of radio contact.
Navigation: Low-frequency navigation signals degraded for brief intervals.
More about the NOAA Space Weather Scales

Solar Cycle 24 Status and Solar Cycle 25 Upcoming Forecast

Solar Cycle 24 Plot
Solar Cycle 24 Status and Solar Cycle 25 Upcoming Forecast
published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 19:18 UTC

Current solar cycle 24 is declining more quickly than forecast. The smoothed, predicted sunspot number for April to May, 2018 is about 15; however, the actual monthly values have been lower. Will solar minimum be longer than usual or might solar cycle 25 begin earlier? Leading solar and space science experts will convene a meeting in the coming years and attempt to predict solar cycle 25.

The “official” solar cycle forecast includes the month, year, and intensity of that maximum (peak, average sunspot number). The consensus forecast is the result of collaboration by a solar cycle prediction panel of solar and space scientists from around the world. Typically, the panel considers all new, relevant research results, observation trends, and model predictions available when the panel is convened.

Just like hurricane season forecasts, solar cycle predictions have improved; however, there are still notable deviations in prediction versus actual activity. The previous solar cycle prediction panel’s forecast for solar cycle 24 called for a maximum average sunspot number of 90 to occur in May, 2013. After looking at the actual sunspot numbers and solar activity, it was determined the solar cycle 24 maximum was reached in April, 2014 and peaked at an average sunspot number of 82. While the peak value was within the expected range of error, the maximum occurred significantly later than the panel’s prediction.

We will update our SWPC web page with information about the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel’s prediction panel meeting as it approaches, and any predictions as they’re issued.