As many WUWT readers have noted in comments, October 2013 has been significantly more active than the previous several months, and we have not seen this level of activity since October 2011.
At right, is the sun today showing several sunspots of significant size. No splitting hairs on “sunspecks” is needed to elevate the count.
NOAA’s SWPC has updated their graphs, and for the first time in many months, the real data nearly matches the prediction line:
The gain from last month is the largest uptick in solar cycle 24 so far.
Similarly, there was an uptick in 10.7cm radio flux, though it is not even close to the maximum gain seen back in mid 2011.
However, the Ap index, a proxy for the sun’s magnetic dynamo, continues to bump along the bottom, some thing it has been doing since October 2005, when a significant step change occurred. None of the peaks seen in Cycle 23 in 2004 have yet to be seen.
Steve Davidson writes of his analysis:
I created, from Belgium’s official counts, a graph very similar to NASA’s “Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression” graph maintained on WUWT’s “Solar Page”.
In my story I also review the current status of Solar Cycle 24 predictions and highlight Leif Svalgaard’s contributions to Cycle 24 understanding.
David Hathaway has also updated his page at NASA Marshall saying:
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 65 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.
As always, there’s more of interest on WUWT’s Solar Reference Page