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Douglas Biesecker. NOAA/Space Environment Center Chair of Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel. Solar Minimum. CYCLE 21. CYCLE 22. Solar Maximum Cycle 22. Solar Maximum Cycle 23. WHAT IS A SOLAR CYCLE? Solar activity rises and falls over an 11 year cycle. The Solar Cycle 24 Panel.

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Douglas Biesecker

NOAA/Space Environment Center

Chair of Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel


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Solar Minimum

CYCLE 21

CYCLE 22

Solar Maximum

Cycle 22

Solar Maximum

Cycle 23

WHAT IS A SOLAR CYCLE?

Solar activity rises and falls over an 11 year cycle


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The Solar Cycle 24 Panel

  • Charged with determining official prediction for Solar Cycle 24 for NOAA, NASA, and the International Space Environment Service (ISES)

  • Panel chaired by NOAA, funded by NASA

  • International membership

  • The panel has 12 voting members

    • Only 11 voted on these predictions


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The Panel is today releasing predictions for

  • The impending solar minimum

    • Marking onset of Cycle 24

  • The peak sunspot number expected for Cycle 24

  • The time of the peak sunspot number

  • What follows is the consensus of the panel


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Solar Minimum

  • March, 2008 (±6 months)

    • Marks the end of Cycle 23 and start of Cycle 24

    • The length of Cycle 23 will then be 11.75 years

      • Longer than the average of 11 years


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Cycle 24 Maximum

  • Will peak at a sunspot number of 140(±20) in October, 2011

    Or

  • Will peak at a sunspot number of 90(±10) in August, 2012

    • An average solar cycle peaks at 114

    • The next cycle will be neither extreme, nor average

  • But, the panel is split down the middle on whether it will be bigger than average or smaller than average



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A few comments…

  • Why the panel still disagrees…

    • We’re still a long way from solar minimum

  • What’s the main difference between the big (140) and small (90) predictions?

    • Big – assume solar memory lasts 20-30 years

    • Small – assume solar memory lasts 11 years


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There is still work to do…

  • What would cause the big predictors to think small

    • If solar minimum drags out beyond March, 2008

  • What would cause the small predictors to think big

    • If either the magnetic field at the sun’s poles increases in strength or geomagnetic activity increases before March, 2008


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Thus, consensus is expected…

  • About March, 2008

  • The panel will re-evaluate conditions on the sun every 3 months

  • The panel will update this prediction annually, or as things change.


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