The NOAA/NASA-co-chaired international Solar Cycle Prediction Panel has released its latest forecast for to forecast Solar Cycle 25. The panel’s consensus calls for a peak in July 2025 (±8 months), with a smoothed sunspot number of 115. The panel agreed that Cycle 25 will be of average intensity and similar to Cycle 24. The panel additionally concurred that the solar minimum between Cycles 24 and 25 will occur in April 2020 (±6 months). If the solar minimum prediction is correct, this would make Solar Cycle 24 the seventh longest on record at 11.4 years. In its preliminary forecast released last April, the scientists on the panel forecast that Solar Cycle 25 would likely be weak, much like the current Cycle 24.
“Solar Cycle 25 may have a slow start, but is anticipated to peak with solar maximum occurring between 2023 and 2026, and a sunspot range of 95 to 130. This is well below the average number of sunspots,” the panel said last spring, adding with “high confidence” that Cycle 25 “should break the trend of weakening solar activity seen over the past four cycles.” The panel said the expectation that Cycle 25 would be comparable in size to Cycle 24 suggests that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude seen from Cycle 21 through Cycle 24 has ended and that there is no indication of an approaching “Maunder-type” minimum. Cycle 24 peaked in April 2014 with an average sunspot number of 82. [Emphasis Added]
The Solar Cycle Prediction Panel forecasts the number of sunspots expected for solar maximum, along with the timing of the peak and minimum solar activity levels for the cycle. It is comprised of scientists representing NOAA, NASA, the International Space Environment Services, and other US and international scientists.