Solar cycle 25 ‘is exceeding expectations in terms of activity’

Posted: March 4, 2023 by oldbrew in Cycles, Geomagnetism, Solar physics
Tags: ,

Variation in solar activity during a recent sunspot cycle [credit: Wikipedia]

The article says ‘The average sunspot numbers for January and February 2023 were some of the highest for around 10 years’. Rarely mentioned, but Jupiter’s perihelion, i.e. its closest orbital approach to the Sun, occurred in late January.
– – –
With several solar flares and coronal mass ejections soaring out into space, the sun has had an active few months as the current solar cycle gathers momentum, says Newsweek.

This solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, is exceeding expectations in terms of activity, as it was initially forecast in 2019 that it would have a similar activity level to that of the previous cycle.

However, Solar Cycle 25 has now outperformed the official forecast for over 24 consecutive months, with sunspot numbers already approaching those seen during the maximum of the previous cycle.

The average sunspot numbers for January and February 2023 were some of the highest for around 10 years, according to NOAA data, with January seeing 143 sunspots, while February had 110. The previous highest-scoring month was during the peak of the previous cycle, Solar Cycle 24, with 146 sunspots occurring in February 2014.

The solar cycle follows 11-year fluctuations of activity, increasing towards the solar maximum in the middle of each cycle. The last solar minimum was in 2019, with the next solar maximum forecast for 2025. Solar Cycle 25 is so-called because it is the 25th cycle since records began in 1755.

These increased sunspot levels have led to higher frequencies of solar activity, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which have lit up the night sky with spectacular aurora as far south as France, and caused several geomagnetic storm-triggered radio blackouts in the past week alone.

When the twisted magnetic fields of sunspots suddenly realign, this can cause the sun to release huge amounts of electromagnetic radiation in the form of solar flares, and also spew out vast clouds of solar plasma as CMEs.

These solar phenomena then react with the chemicals in our atmosphere, leading to a kaleidoscope of colors being seen in the night sky in the form of the Northern and Southern lights, as were seen across the world on Tuesday as a result of two massive CMEs released on February 24 and 25.

Full article here.
– – –
NASA’s Solar Cycle 25 blog is here.

  1. dscott8186 says:

    If you look at the butterfly diagram for SC 25, the sunspots are slowly beginning to appear closer to the mid latitudes which generally indicates the peak has occurred or about to…
    Scroll down the page.

  2. oldbrew says:

    A peak of 3.5 years or so might mean a shorter than 11 years cycle, but too early to judge really.

  3. Phoenix44 says:

    I’m pretty certain that whatever determines the solar cycle it’s not how many times the Earth has orbited the sun!

  4. bobweber says:

    SC25 sunspot number is 37% below average, 16% higher than SC24 @ month #39.

  5. Aequitas says:

    Cycle 25 field strength as reported by Stanford Wilcox Observatory is rapidly approaching zero. The sunspot number is proportional to the steepness of the change. This will be a very short cycle unless the rate of change decreases when the polarity changes and before the magnetic cycle reaches its maximum in the opposite polarity.

  6. oldbrew says:

    ‘The solar cycle follows 11-year fluctuations of activity’

    Can vary +/- up to 2 years as a rough guide.

    In 2013 Rick Salvador posted this at the Talkshop and wrote:
    The next cycle, 25, could prove to be very interesting as the model predicts it will be difficult to tell when it ends and the next one begins. Cycle 25 length will be either 10.5 years or 15 years long.

    See —
    – – –
    Cycle 24 ended later than Rick’s 2018 forecast, so maybe that reduces his estimate of SC 25 duration(s) by a year or so? The amplitude is too low but so are a lot of other forecasts — hence ‘exceeding expectations’.

  7. oldbrew says: reports — Solar wind speed: 663.5 km/sec

    THE SOLAR WIND IS BLOWING FAST: Earth has entered a stream of solar wind blowing faster than 600 km/s (1.3 million mph). This could cause geomagnetic unrest or even a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm around the poles today. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

    Latest sunspot number is 173.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s