Solar Cycle Update

Posted: July 15, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, Solar physics
Tags: ,

SC 25 – are we nearly there yet?

July 14, 2020: NOAA has released a new interactive tool to explore the solar cycle. It lets you scroll back through time, comparing sunspot counts now to peaks and valleys of the past. One thing is clear. Solar Minimum is here, and it’s one of the deepest in a century.


Solar Minimum is a natural part of the solar cycle. Every ~11 years, the sun transitions from high to low activity and back again. Solar Maximum. Solar Minimum. Repeat. The cycle was discovered in 1843 by Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, who noticed the pattern after counting sunspots for 17 years. We are now exiting Solar Cycle 24 and entering Solar Cycle 25.

During Solar Minimum, the sun is usually blank–that is, without sunspots. The solar disk often looks like a big orange billiard ball:

hmi1898 The spotless sun on July 13, 2020

In 2019, the sun went 281 days without sunspots, and…

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  1. Curious George says:

    “it’s one of the deepest in a century.” One of two minimums in the century. One of the deepest in the last 100 years would be more descriptive. The century is still young.

  2. Patrick Geryl says:

    Our paper about the start of Solar Cycle 25 has just been published in Astrophysics and Space Science:

    More can be found on the website of Jan Alvestad. Also the link to our paper and another paper on ResearchGate:

    Press release
    When did Solar Cycle 25 start?
    Patrick Geryl and Jan Alvestad developed a new theory (A Formula For the Start of a New Sunspot Cycle) to calculate the start of a new sunspot cycle: the paper was published in Astrophysics and Space Science. Determining the start of a solar cycle is one of the most followed questions in astrophysics because it may be important to professionals like astronauts, astrophysicists, engineers responsible for protecting the power grid, etcetera.
    The latest NASA prediction panel considers April 2020 as likely to become the starting month of the new cycle. The authors disagree and point to October 2019 as a central point to calculate the start. Why? Since 1947 a radio telescope in Canada has been measuring solar flux. The authors found something peculiar: in most of the previous 6 cycle transitions, the lowest daily solar flux values were near 64. The new solar cycle started a few months before or after these clusters of minimum values. In October 2019 there was another cluster of measurements below 66. A preliminary conclusion was that Cycle 25 was going to start between August 2019 and January 2020.
    Co-author Jan Alvestad has a widely followed website Solar Terrestrial Activity Report and maintains high resolution sunspot counts based on images from the SDO NASA spacecraft. If you look (indirectly) at the Sun with telescopes, most days will be spotless near solar minimum, and those spots that can be observed are small and usually disappear quickly. However, there are plenty of tiny spots in high resolution images. For instance when other observers using traditional resolution telescopes see 1 sunspot at minimum, Jan Alvestad observes and documents 4-6 times more at the highest image resolution. This gives a new perspective on the 300 year old method of counting sunspots.

    Meanwhile the authors found more markers (under review) and their latest calculations point to November-December 2019, and especially December 2019 as the likely start of Solar Cycle 25.
    Shortly after the authors found that Solar Cycle 25 started in November or December 2019, they discovered something that at first seemed hard to believe. Using 365 days smoothing, 4 out of 5 of the data series available all had the solar minimum on the same day. The NOAA sunspot number, solar flux at 1 AU as well as both the STAR 1K and 2K high resolution sunspot numbers all had their lowest value on November 17, 2019. They sent a paper on this discovery for peer review knowing it would not be published before the official announcement of the start of Solar Cycle 25. Anyway, co-author Jan Alvestad added this important information to the STAR web site in June 2020. The pre-print was published on ResearchGate as the last in a trilogy of papers that could change how we determine when a new solar cycle begins.

  3. oldbrew says:

    An ‘outlier’ prediction…

    While the vast majority of solar physicists are predicting a weak solar cycle 25 (the weakest of the next 200 years, according to NASA), one group of UK scientists have just released a paper (June 27, 2020) suggesting cycle 25 will in fact be the strongest since 1840.

  4. tallbloke says:

    Congratulations on publication Patrick. Gerry Pease sent me some plots recently which would seem to agree with your timeframe.

  5. P.A.Semi says:

    My Paper on SC25 start has not been published by a journal yet, they won’t dare…
    I’ve published it on Pentecost on my page or (but there were two more correction updates so far) and it has been announced here on Tallbloke Talkshop recently…
    (Btw. there is a reference to that page in that Paper also…)

    I consider start of Solar Cycle, when first sunspots with new polarity start appearing in the minimum phase, or in old times, when first high-latitude sunspots started… The start of new cycle usually overlaps the end of old cycle…
    Therefore, SC24 started already on 2007-12-11, SC23 started on or before April 1996, and SC25 started on Third or Fourth Advent Sunday on 2016-12-11 or 2016-12-18..19

    I’ve enumerated all small and larger sunspots of SC25 polarity, there has been about 200 so far, and there was significantly more sunspots with “wrong” polarity than in SC24, also about 200 so far… “Wrong” polarity is either “north-south” orientation instead of normal “east-west”, and “wrong” is also high-latitude sunspot in minimum phase with old SC24 polarity…
    (There is a synoptic map available from 1996 to 2020 with larger of polarity exceptions marked, showing, that SC25 is far more exceptional than was SC24… It is a huge 100Mpixel image, save it to disk and open outside of web-browser if interested…)

    And as it seemed previously, that first sunspots appear in relation with planet positions, now in SC25 all major sunspots started on various Christian feasts and Calendary starts. The probability that it is just a random coincidence is very small – it is evidently intentional…

    When investigating that more, I found, that also the “wrong” sunspots consistently appeared on “wrong” holidays in Calendary, and that also the tiny “right” sunspots appear consistently on “right” holidays in Calendary. There has been a Judgement Day ongoing already for past 8 years…

    In few cases, there have been readable latin or hebrew inscriptions in magnetogram around those sunspots, that had a meaning and relation to that holiday… (Like on 2018-12-30 on the anniversary of USSR establishment, there was a rare doubly-wrong sunspot with letters CCCP written around, and just the day after on 2018-12-31 on anniversary of Euro currency, there was a similar rare doubly-wrong sunspot nearby the previous with € written in magnetic field around… Not a coincidence, Union as Union, both are similarly wrong…)

    My work ends with Ascension Sunday 2020. That sunspot’s magnetic field was morphing again in a shape of standing Lion, walking Bull, Human face and flying Eagle, and in between it was morphing in latin letters AgEos, which in Greek means “Holy”, just as written in Rev4:8 at end of that chapter…

    And just in the middle of 24th age (not 24 “ancient ones”) in March 2012, there has been a first significant sunspot with SC25 polarity in a shape of a cross, that turned into the shape of Lamb (quite well matching the proportions of a Lamb in The Little Prince)… Followed a week later by a sunspot group with a shape of a human face, on EUV171 revealing, that there was a huge cross over whole Sun and that face had an aureole, and on magnetogram revealed, that there was a bull, lion and eagle in ends of that cross… Followed one week later on the feast of Annunciation with a sunspot group with a shape of a Dove with an aureole in EUV… (That “Lamb” did not have an aureole, but 7 horns in EUV and 7 sunspot “eyes” in visible light…)
    So I thought, there is missing God the Father, and inspected, what was before that… During whole February 2012, there was a huge hebrew inscription יהוה in Corona holes one letter on each side of the Sun… (While it’s quite rare, that the Corona holes show readable letters, there were few more readable inscriptions during 2012 there, some hebrew and some latin…)
    And just before that Lamb I found an Image of the Divine Throne with mathematical perfectness of Phi and Golden ratio on multiple levels and various inscriptions visible in AIA193 channel… So that Lamb was in middle of the 24th age, in middle between the Throne and the Four “alive ones”, preciselly as written in the Book of Revelation…

    The implication of this is Huge…

    (And I’m still contemplating, how and where to publish it widely and if it’s already the right time for that…)

  6. P.A.Semi says:

    Just a side-note about November 17, it is a “Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day” and it is a National Holiday in my country…
    There is not enough “Freedom and Democracy” yet, that is what your deepest point of Minimum tells…

    But in data I downloaded from GOES Warehouse, minimum 10.7 radio flux of 64 was on 2019-10-21 (lowest value since their record start at 1996, or rather lowest value since 1954), but on 2019-11-17 there was 70… (In 2019Q3_DSD.txt the values are rounded to integers… Elsewhere on NOAA STP I found values updated only to May 2018, what a pitty…)

    So may that November 17 be a product of averaging and smoothing?

    About sentence “This gives a new perspective on the 300 year old method of counting sunspots.”
    I strongly suggest keeping old method of counting sunspots, in order to have a continuing serie for meaningful comparisions…

    For example USAF stopped counting sunspot positions in 2012 (or at least I found it published updated only to that year) and thereby they interrupted a serie going since 1874… They probably thought new observations in SOHO and SDO are a sufficient replacement, but these are more sensitive and their results would not be comparable to old data… And for any scientific analysis, the longer is the data-serie, the better…

    About “outlier” prediction of strong SC25 — I doubt it…

    There already is visible high-latitude start of Torsional Oscilation wave (faster moving meridional flow, in which there are usually sunspots later… That “butterfly diagram”…), but it’s northern wing seems extremely weak and poorly defined so far, weaker than in SC24…

    The southern wing is already at latitude, where it was in SC24 in May 2010 (at start of SDO record) and it seems just a little weaker or comparable, but the northern wing at current speed would be at same latitude after cca 60 weeks as it was in May 2010 and it seems notably weaker yet at this time… (there is nothing about SC25, but there is already visible that Torsional Oscilation wave, a precursor of SC25… The southern wing is there already since second half of 2016, the northern wing since 2018…
    See Summary image, the colored charts are in 1 pixel/week resolution in X – a limit of this method since it needs at least a week of data to average out noise, 1 pixel/1.5° in Y until +-60° latitude…)

  7. Paul Vaughan says:

    Chalk Mute

    Last time I checked the solar cycle: maybe 2 — or 3 — years ago.
    Next time I plan to check: 2045 …or maybe 2036 at the early est.

  8. OB I know you occasionally read Mile Mathis ( . He has said cycle 25 has already started and predicts it will be warmer than cycle 24 but cycle 26 will be warmer still. “PAPER UPDATE, added 4/30/20, Solar Cycles: another prediction. I have attached a short addendum here to my previous addendum, concerning warm period math and the number 11”. His mention of Fourmilab solar system ( ) is interesting. It appears that in the next few days there is a good alignment of most of the planets (except Uranus & Neptune) but the latter are also on the same side of the sun. Will be interesting if anything happens like an Earthquake

  9. oldmanK says:

    Continuing on cementafriend: Sometime in August we will have an interesting Kepler Trigon. It also occurs about the time of an Eddy cycle peak.
    Interesting times; Covid notwithstanding.

  10. oldbrew says:

    There are different definitions of what a solar cycle start is. One is when the dominant polarity has shifted. ‘They’ say the date can only be determined in arrears by studying various bits of data.

  11. oldmanK says:

    Quote oldbrew: ” ‘They’ say the date can only be determined in arrears by studying various bits of data.”

    It is what the dogma said, for many years, that one cannot tell/predict the solstice day by simple means, in advance. Until I did it with a model of a very ancient piece of engineering. Not only the day but the hour as well, weeks in advance. It pays to keep an open mind.

  12. P.A.Semi says:

    If the “Kepler Trigon” involves conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, that will happen on 2020-12-21 from Earth’s viewpoint, not in August … Inexact triple-trigon of Sun,Uranus,Jupiter occurs at start of September… (at 2020-09-02 and 2020-09-07 and 2020-09-09)

    About “dominant polarity” – around time of heliocentric Earth-Venus conjunction (at 2020-06-03) there has been some burst of sunspots of new polarity, but it waned again… Next was heliocentric conjunction of Earth-Jupiter at 2020-07-14 and it didn’t seem to produce anything, but sometimes it takes a week or two to surface…

    Last low-latitude sunspot of SC24 polarity so far was on 2020-07-10, so the old cycle SC24 is not over yet, but the new SC25 polarity has already prevailed, unless some significant old polarity region emerges again…

    When have prevealed significant magnetic regions of new polarity:

    Significant magnetic regions in 2020:

    (date time) (magnitude) (cycle)
    2020-01-01 04:00 2530.7 SC25
    2020-01-24 01:00 3280.8 SC24
    2020-03-06 18:00 2336.6 SC25 *
    2020-03-30 14:00 2728.5 SC25 *
    2020-04-23 05:00 2277.5 SC24 *
    2020-05-18 00:00 3017.5 SC25
    2020-05-30 18:00 2848.9 SC25
    2020-06-03 17:00 6840.1 SC25
    (date is when that region started or rolled into view on limb, magnitude is peak value of sum of Gauss values of that region on 360×180 rectangular map)

    Unless some significant SC24 region would emerge, then SC25 prevailed either at 2020-03-07 or 2020-03-30 …

    There could hardly be less interest in my SC25 “Revelation” work so far, but I can wait some time, until The People Wake Up…

  13. oldmanK says:

    Re planet alignment I got the month wrong. It is July, about now. According to

    It appears its quiet this time round. (as it is with Covid we have more than enough. In 20 years time — I won’t be worrying).

  14. oldbrew says:

    Regional atmospheric circulation shifts induced by a grand solar minimum
    Nature Geoscience, v5 (2012): 397-401

    Large changes in solar ultraviolet radiation can indirectly affect climate1 by inducing atmospheric changes. Specifically, it has been suggested that centennial-scale climate variability during the Holocene epoch was controlled by the Sun2, 3. However, the amplitude of solar forcing is small when compared with the climatic effects and, without reliable data sets, it is unclear which feedback mechanisms could have amplified the forcing. Here we analyse annually laminated sediments of Lake Meerfelder Maar, Germany, to derive variations in wind strength and the rate of 10Be accumulation, a proxy for solar activity, from 3,300 to 2,000 years before present. We find a sharp increase in windiness and cosmogenic 10Be deposition 2,759  ±  39 varve years before present and a reduction in both entities 199  ±  9 annual layers later. We infer that the atmospheric circulation reacted abruptly and in phase with the solar minimum. A shift in atmospheric circulation in response to changes in solar activity is broadly consistent with atmospheric circulation patterns in long-term climate model simulations, and in reanalysis data that assimilate observations from recent solar minima into a climate model. We conclude that changes in atmospheric circulation amplified the solar signal and caused abrupt climate change about 2,800 years ago, coincident with a grand solar minimum. [bold added]
    – – –
    ‘2,759  ±  39 varve years before present’ would be about 2400 years before the Maunder Minimum…

    S. S. Vasiliev and V. A. Dergachev: 2400-year cycle in atmospheric radiocarbon concentration
    Posted: March 24, 2014 by tallbloke

    Nature Unbound IV – The 2400-year Bray cycle. Part A
    Posted on July 11, 2017 by curryja
    By Javier

    I now start reviewing the millennial climate cycles that abruptly impact the slowly changing Holocene climate. The most significant and regular one is the ~ 2400-year Bray cycle.
    – – –
    Other research has found that the ~2400 year cycle modulates the de Vries cycle (205-210 years) – see Fig. 4 here:

    Charvatova identified a similar period:
    Responses of the basic cycles of 178.7 and 2402 yr in solar–terrestrial phenomena during the Holocene

    I. Charvátová and P. Hejda

  15. oldbrew says:


    There’s no longer any doubt. New Solar Cycle 25 is coming to life. The latest sign came yesterday with the emergence of a new sunspot group, AR2770, inset in this magnetic map of the sun’s surface from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):