The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has updated their monthly graph set and it is becoming even more clear that we are past solar max, and that solar max has been a dud. “The slump” continues not only in sunspot activity, but also other metrics. And, tellingly, Dr. David Hathaway has now aligned his once way too high solar prediction with that of WUWT’s resident solar expert, Dr. Leif Svalgaard. Of course, at this point, I’m not sure “prediction” is the right word for Hathaway’s update.
The SSN count remains low:
Note the divergence between the model prediction in red, and the actual values.
The 10.7cm radio flux continues slumpy:
The Ap geomagnetic index remains low, unchanged, and indicates a tepid solar magnetic dynamo. We’ve had well over 6 years now (and about to be seven) of a lower than expected Ap index.
From the WUWT Solar reference page, Dr Leif Svalgaard has this plot comparing the current cycle 24 with recent solar cycles. The prediction is that solar max via sunspot count will peak in late 2013/early 2014:
But, another important indicator, Solar Polar Fields from Mt. Wilson and Wilcox Combined -1966 to Present show that the fields have flipped (crossed the zero line) indicating solar max has indeed happened.
In other news, Dr. David Hathaway has updated his prediction page on 9/5/13, and suggests solar max may have already occurred. He says:
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 66 in the Summer of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number has already reached 67 (in February 2012) due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high. The smoothed sunspot number has been flat over the last four months. We are currently over four years into Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906.
You can watch this video that shows 5 years of cycle 24 predictions from Hathaway, as they shrink from 2005 to 2010. Solar cycle 24 predictions were higher then, and exceeded the SSN max for cycle 23.
Dr. Svalgaard’s prediction in 2005 (with Lund) was for a solar cycle 24 max SSN of 75, and was totally against the consensus for solar cycle 24 predictions of the time. It looks like that might not even be reached. From his briefing then:
We live in interesting times.
More at the WUWT Solar reference page.