NASA goes with low Solar Cycle 25 prediction “30-50% lower than cycle 24.”

Posted: July 14, 2019 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, Cycles, Forecasting, predictions, Solar physics
Quiet sun [image credit: NASA]

NASA finally agrees with our model estimate for cycle 25 published in 2013. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Leif Svalgaard predicted that cycle 25 would be higher than 24, but lower than cycle 20.

Research now underway may have found a reliable new method to predict this solar activity. The Sun’s activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle. The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.

The new research was led by Irina Kitiashvili, a researcher with the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley. It combined observations from two NASA space missions – the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and the Solar Dynamics Observatory – with data collected since 1976 from the ground-based National Solar Observatory.

One challenge for researchers working to predict the Sun’s activities is that scientists don’t yet completely understand the inner workings of our star. Plus, some factors that play out deep inside the Sun cannot be measured directly. They have to be estimated from measurements of related phenomena on the solar surface, like sunspots.

Kitiashvili’s method differs from other prediction tools in terms of the raw material for its forecast. Previously, researchers used the number of sunspots to represent indirectly the activity of the solar magnetic field. The new approach takes advantage of direct observations of magnetic fields emerging on the surface of the Sun – data which has only existed for the last four solar cycles.

Mathematically combining the data from the three sources of Sun observations with the estimates of its interior activity generated a forecast designed to be more reliable than using any of those sources alone.

In 2008 the researchers used this method to make their prediction, which was then put to the test as the current solar cycle unfolded over the last decade. It has performed well, with the forecast strength and timing of the solar maximum aligning closely with reality.

Knowing how the Sun will behave can offer necessary insight to plan protections for our next explorers who will venture into deep space. It also lets us protect technology we depend on: satellite missions studying the universe from space, landers and rovers heading to the Moon and Mars, and the telecommunications satellites right in our own backyard.

NASA is charged to get American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years with a landing on the lunar South Pole. With a calm and quiet space weather forecast for the coming decade, it is a great time to explore!

I haven’t found a full copy but Kitiashvili gave a conference paper at SHINE in 2018:

Physics-Based Approach to Predict the Solar Activity Cycles

Show affiliations


Observations of the complex highly non-linear dynamics of global turbulent flows and magnetic fields are currently available only from Earth-side observations. Recent progress in helioseismology has provided us some additional information about the subsurface dynamics, but its relation to the magnetic field evolution is not yet understood. These limitations cause uncertainties that are difficult take into account, and perform proper calibration of dynamo models. The current dynamo models have also uncertainties due to the complicated turbulent physics of magnetic field generation, transport and dissipation. Because of the uncertainties in both observations and theory, the data assimilation approach is natural way for the solar cycle prediction and estimating uncertainties of this prediction. The data assimilation approach combining information from both models and observations together with estimation possible errors has been developed in a large number of different methodologies. In this presentation I will compare results from four such methodologies: the Ensemble Kalman Filter method, the Extended Kalman Filter, the Ensemble Kalman Filter Smoother, and the Ensemble Adjustment Kalman Filter, for predicting sunspot cycles using a low-order solar dynamo model that takes into account the effects of magnetic helicity balance. I will discuss the prediction results for the upcoming Solar Cycle 25 and their uncertainties.
Publication: Solar Heliospheric and INterplanetary Environment (SHINE 2018), Proceedings of the conference held 30 July-3 August, 2018 in Cocoa Beach, FL, id.155Pub Date: July 2018Bibcode: 2018shin.confE.155K 

Kitiashvili’s work was supported by the National Science Foundation and by NASA.

  1. tallbloke says:

  2. Ken Mitchell says:

    “One challenge for researchers working to predict the Sun’s activities is that scientists don’t yet completely understand the inner workings of our star. ”

    Is that the NewSpeak for “Scientists have barely a glimmer of understanding about the interior of the Sun”? Because “don’t COMPLETELY understand” misses the mark by a couple of orders of magnitude, I believe.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Fortunately Earthlings now self-generate their own warmth without having to worry about what the Sun is doing 😆

  4. daveburton says:

    Uh oh! That probably means SC25 will be especially intense. Their predictions are usually wildly inaccurate.

    Here’s NASA in Dec. 2006, trying to predict solar activity just four years out. They predicted, on the basis of “a sophisticated computer model of the sun’s inner dynamo,” a very intense Solar Cycle 24, peaking in 2010 or 2011:

    Their article began, “Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 “looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago…”

    They were, of course, spectacularly wrong. We got a very weak Solar Cycle 24, peaking in 2014.

    NASA’s sophisticated computer model of the Sun was as wrong in 2006 as their sophisticated computer model of the Earth’s climate was in 1988.

  5. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    This will be an interesting one to watch. 🍿

  6. tom0mason says:

    So it appears our little planet will probably get even cooler as 2 solar cycles of low irradiation works its way through our climate system.
    2020 – 2023 should be one heck of a climate/seismological ride but 2032 – 2033 will probably be more so.
    Strap-in it looks to be a bumpy ride ahead!

  7. oldbrew says:

    Re ‘NASA’s sophisticated computer model’ – let’s go for meaning no. 3 of sophisticated here: ‘deceptive; misleading.’

  8. oldbrew says:

    Australian TV’s Alan Jones calls this ’11 minutes and 30 seconds of climate change dynamite’: radio interview with Nils-Axel Mörner (after ~7 minute intro).

    Nils-Axel Mörner, a former head of the Paleo-Geophysics and Geodynamics Department in Stockholm, says a new solar-driven cooling period for the Earth is ‘not far off’.

  9. Phoenix44 says:

    I do wonder sometimes if the accelerated Alarmism of the last year or so has been driven by a fear of cooling from reduced solar activity? Get the massive changes Greens want embedded now and they will take some dislodging, no matter what happens to temperatures.

  10. thefordprefect says:

    Click to access 20180007221.pdf

    [mod] thanks – pdf contents = Physics-Based Approach to Predict the Solar Activity Cycles by Irina N. Kitiashvili (referenced in the blog post)

  11. oldbrew says:

    Mysterious High Energy Gamma Rays Might Help Explain What Drives Solar Cycles
    Gregory S Glenn
    (Submitted on 22 Jan 2019 (v1), last revised 7 Feb 2019 (this version, v2))

    From the abstract:
    Pease and Glenn, in the conclusion of a recent paper, suggested that solar cycles are regulated by planetary orbital positions, influencing the Sun through transfer of gravitational or electromagnetic forces, or both (Pease & Glenn, 2016). This paper will describe a working hypothesis that points strongly to electromagnetic connections between Jupiter, Saturn, and the Sun during Solar Minimum which contribute to the high gamma-ray energy observed being emitted by the Sun. The hypothesis further suggests that the electromagnetic connections between the Sun and Jupiter, Saturn, and other planets with magnetospheres, namely Neptune, Earth, and Uranus, are responsible over billions of years for modulating a dual electromagnetic field resonance internal to the Sun. These major periodic cycles are known as the 11-year Schwabe and 22-year Hale solar cycles.
    – – –
    Related (Pease & Glenn, 2016):
    Gerry Pease Links Improved and Updated Solar-Planetary paper
    Posted: December 1, 2016 by tallbloke

    Ex U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer and long-time talkshopper Gerry Pease has sent me a link to an update of the paper he wrote with Gregory Glenn which we discussed recently. It represents some important and novel work in our field of solar-planetary theory. Of particular interest is the tight phase and magnitude coherence of solar-barycentric torque over the last two Jose cycles.
    – – –
    Date: 29/03/18 Scientific American

    To their surprise, the researchers found the most intense gamma rays appear strangely synced with the quietest part of the solar cycle. During the last solar minimum, from 2008 to 2009, Fermi detected eight high-energy gamma rays (each with energies greater than 100 giga–electron volts, or GeV) emitted by the sun. But over the next eight years, as solar activity built to a peak and then regressed back toward quiescence, the sun emitted no high-energy gamma rays at all. The chances of that occurring at random, Linden says, are extremely low. Most likely the gamma rays are triggered by some aspect of the sun’s activity cycle, but the details remain unclear.

    The team speculates these gamma rays are likely emitted when powerful cosmic rays—produced throughout the universe by violent astrophysical events like supernovae and colliding neutron stars—slam into the sun’s surface.

  12. Miles Mathis says solar cycles are associated with the alignments of planets. Just looked at this site which is referenced by Miles. It opened at today and it seems there is some alignment. I then put in July 15 2020 for interest. There seems to be a better alignment of sorts between Venus,Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn for that day and time (12.12). Maybe others can fiddle with different days to get better alignment and then see when the time comes next year if the sunspots are affected

  13. oldbrew says:

    Irina N. Kitiashvili says:

    The updated prediction of Cycle 25 shows that this cycle will start in about 2021 reach the
    maximum in 2024 – 2025, and the mean sunspot number at the maximum will be about 90 (for the v2.0 sunspot number series) with the error estimate ~15%. The model result shows that deep extended solar activity minimum (about 2019-2021) is expected. Solar maximum will likely have double peak or extended maximum activity (up to 2 – 2.5-years long).

    Click to access 20180007221.pdf

  14. Bob Weber says:

    The first plot in the graphic below indicates what SC25 looks like at NASA’s 70% of SC24. ** I shifted the Maunder (1645-1715) back 15 years to get a 10% lower group number, not that it really mattered.

    Leif Svalgaard’s prediction for SC25 looks most likely to me right now, based on his solar polar field precursor method, which was successful for SC24. But if the sun does step down more as NASA suggests it seems more likely to first obtain Dalton Minimum rather than deeper Maunder Minimum levels. The Maunder Minimum had three solar cycles in the Dalton range before stepping down further for several more cycles.

    If the sun drops even briefly into Dalton territory I expect the already premature and over the top GSM rhetoric to explode, unfortunately. We’re not in a GSM until it actually happens, and furthermore, the present solar minimum activity isn’t even as low as the last one yet.

    The following figure from Dec 2018 has my estimation for SC25 net solar input for the activity range Leif Svalgaard expects, based on the 120sfu F10.7cm sun-ocean warming threshold I established in 2014, showing a very likely possibility of net ocean cooling by the end of SC25. Lower solar activity than Leif’s range increases the certainty the cooling will be deeper. The July 2019 hypothetical minimum as shown will be relocated to the actual once it is determined.

    This shows the continuation of net solar input from Feb 2017 when the long-term F10.7cm average from May 1 1960, the start of my 26-year model tuning period, fell below 120sfu, the zero anomaly point, ie the ‘warming line’. Today we’re at 118.1sfu, qualifying the present climate as being in weak “mini ice age conditions”, with seasonal Greenland ice and glacial growth instead of retreat, which can and eventually will reverse again with higher solar activity.

    I personally wouldn’t declare a GSM until 2025, and then only if solar activity was clearly lower than Dalton Minimum levels. Until then a GSM is only a low risk, not a certainty. Even the Dalton’s SC6 had low Maunder levels for the first 5 years, ie GSM-conditions.

    The sun’s dominant role over the climate should come clearly into NASA’s focus by 2030.

  15. Doonhamer says:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
    When did that highly esteemed science and engineering organisation get hijacked into being an iffy long range weather forecasting boondoggle?
    Before or after , the astigmatic Hubble farce, getting the distance to Mars wrong, Space Shuttle incidents?
    So now they are going back to the Moon?
    How likely is that, given H&S, diversity and gender consid erations,?
    F35? 737 Max? Bridge collapses? Warship crashes? Fiddled higher education entry? You ain’t seen nuttin yet.
    It is just very sad.

  16. oldbrew says:

    NASA’s Successor to the Hubble Telescope Inches Closer to Launch
    By Korey Haynes | June 19, 2019

    it’s looking like the telescope is still on track for its 2021 launch date

    BUT…it was already in trouble…NINE years ago

    NASA Woes: Hubble’s Replacement Behind Schedule; Shuttle Cracks Found
    By Andrew Moseman | November 11, 2010
    – – –
    RUSSIA Published 12 hours ago
    SEE IT: Russia launches major new telescope into space after delays

  17. oldbrew says:


    More Bad News For The Global Warming Fraudsters

    We are already in the first stages of a deep solar minimum series: Solar Cycle 25.

    Even NASA, at the forefront of carbon dioxide (CO2) hysteria, has solar forecasts showing us going over the cliff and into the cold.

    The Democrat media complex and the global warming industry is doing everything possible to hide that inconvenient truth from the public, that global cooling is in process.

  18. Ron Clutz says:

    Here is a video of her presenting the NASA forecast:

    The key exhibit appears to be this one:

  19. phil salmon says:

    Where’s Leif these days?

  20. oldbrew says:

    Leif Svalgaard’s ‘educated guess’ for cycle 25 is here.

    Figure 2| The solar Dipole Moment DM inferred from the sunspot number, SN (red symbols), and from the group number, GN (blue symbols) for the cycles following the minima for which the DM is determined using the regression equations from Figure 1. The average DM for each cycle is shown with a heavy black line with light-blue circles. The observed DM values since Cycle 21 are shown with large circles. An educated guess for Cycle 25 (size between Cycles 20 and 24, based on extrapolated DM from WSO) completes the inferences.

  21. oldbrew says:

    Date: 15/07/19 Graham Lloyd, The Australian

    Scientists have barely scratched the surface of the task of recognising and modelling natural cycles of climate change.
    . . .
    The findings, published in Nature, point to big trends in natural variation of past and future climate that operate apart from greenhouse gas levels.

    The study adds weight to a contentious theory by Danish researcher Henrik Svensmark, of the Danish National Space Institute in Copenhagen, which uses cosmic rays and clouds to question the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    And it follows a study of 120,000 years of solar cycles by Valentina Zharkova, of Britain’s Northumbria University, which says a natural sun cycle will add 2.5C warming to Earth’s climate in coming centuries on top of any impact from rising greenhouse gases.

    NB this graphic is somewhat over-simplified but may be true at the limits of long term solar variations.

  22. Bob Weber says:

    oldbrew, from the gwpf article, the last two sentences:

    Global climate variations are the result of variations in cloud cover, atmospheric circulation patterns and ocean circulation patterns as well as the actual ­luminosity of the sun.

    Asten says Svensmark’s explanation is not accepted by the vast majority of researchers, but in time his theory may well be seen as a seminal part of new insights into an incredibly complex set of sun-Earth-climate interactions.

    Asten unfortunately left out the main store of energy, ocean heat content.

    The cosmic ray and low cloud climate theories are mistaken, as those low clouds are actually produced normally by the ocean during rising MEI/falling OLR El Nino conditions, demonstrated here using the clouds/cosmic ray plot from Figure 10 of the GWPF’s Force Majeure article by Henrik Svensmark:

    The strong OLR-cloud relationship is plotted here and here.

    Cosmic rays exhibit almost no correlation with ISCCP clouds.

    Clouds (and CO2) are ultimately outcomes of solar cycle TSI variation. An example from SC24, where Equatorial Ocean Heat Content and SST responded to changing TSI above/below the warming line for SORCE TSI of 1361.25 W/m2, the equivalent to 120sfu F10.7cm, driving the cloudy, wet, and warm El Nino:

  23. oldbrew says:

    Bob Weber – yes, an issue for the Svensmark theory is that no clear solar-cycle related climate patterns (i.e. quasi-11 year) have been shown to exist AFAIK.

    I believe Piers Corbyn says something similar.

  24. J Martin says:

    Bob and Oldbrew. It’s a few years since I last watched a Jasper Kirkby video, but as I recollect, he drew a convincing link between cosmic ray variations and climate or temperature.

  25. oldbrew says:

    There is of course a risk of seeing what one hoped to see in the cosmic ray experiments of CERN. If there are clear signs of links between solar cycles and climate, let’s see the evidence.

  26. Looked more at . In June -July 2020 there is a near alignment been Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. It will be interesting if anything special happens. Will there be visible sun spots or will they be on the otherside of the sun? Could there be a series of earthquakes or volcanic activity on Earth? Of course there will be movement on the political front. 2020 is an election year in USA and also local and State elections in Qld Aust. Let us all hope that “climate change or AGW” will be extinguished one way or other.

  27. GregG says:


    I have found at least 2 separate methods for determining Solar Cycle 25 Maximum activity that are largely in agreement with Irena Kitiashvili’s recent NASA Ames Research Center prediction of ~50 (40-65) sunspots:

    1. Study of polar fields by Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This is similar to Svalgaard’s approach, but they started earlier and got a much different result.
    “Forecasting the sunspot maximum through an analysis of geomagnetic activity”
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2017.12.016

    Figure 8 on page 6 shows approximately 55 sunspots for SC25, based on Slow Solar Wind (SSW) from heliosheet:

    Figure 9 on page 6 shows approximately 50 sunspots for SC25, based on DMmax, which is the maximum solar dipole field during the decline phase of SC24:

    2. Study of Vukcevic’s polynomial for calculating Solar Max for SC25 using the Vukcevic polynomial formula at CERN. I used the formula on page 3 and entered it into MS Excel:

    Click to access 0401107.pdf

    The polynomial is based on 3 separate cycle formulas:
    a. Periodicity of solar oscillation related to Jupiter – Saturn orbital factors
    b. Anomaly equation identifies periodic reduction in activity lasting one or more sunspot cycles
    c. Amplitude envelope determining general long term trend.

    Best fit: 53-56 sunspots, depending on year of maximum (54 sunspots for 2025, SILSO v.1)
    SILSO v.2 will be higher: Estimate 54 x 1.4375 = ~78 sunspots SILSO, v.2.

    Gerry Pease and I projected in our 2016 paper that the next 3 solar cycles will be progressively weaker than SC24. Our Figure 5, page 4 of our paper entitled “Long Term Sunspot Cycle Phase Coherence with Periodic Phase Disruptions” shows SC25 solar maximum arriving in 2025 and having a sunspot maximum of 55 sunspots (SILSO v.1). Of course, SILSO v.2 will have a higher sunspot number: Estimate 55 x 1.4375 = ~79 sunspots SILSO, v.2

    Click to access 1610.03553.pdf

  28. oldbrew says:

  29. Reblogged this on Daniel Brisson – Parti populaire du Canada Louis-Hébert and commented:
    The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years.

    Bref, la Terre va perdre des milliards de kwh/m2