New sunspot cycle could be one of the strongest on record, new research predicts
In direct contradiction to the official forecast, a team of scientists led by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is predicting that the Sunspot Cycle that started this autumn could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began.
In a new article published in Solar Physics, the research team predicts that Sunspot Cycle 25 will peak with a maximum sunspot number somewhere between approximately 210 and 260, which would put the new cycle amongst the top few ever observed.
The cycle that just ended, Sunspot Cycle 24, peaked with a sunspot number of 116, and the consensus forecast from a panel of experts convened by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that Sunspot Cycle 25 will be similarly weak. The panel predicts a peak sunspot number of 115.
Higher sunspot numbers bring with them the possibility of enhanced radio communications, so we amateur radio operators can watch the developing scenario with some optimism and our fingers crossed.