This week we saw the average daily sunspot number rise over five
points to 20. We will see little variations like this as the solar
cycle declines toward its minimum next year. Solar activity still
seems too high to be at the bottom though. A glance at graphs of
smoothed sunspot numbers shows we are still experiencing more
sunspots than the minimum back in 1996. Check the graph at
http://wm7d.net/hamradio/solar/historical.shtml on the very bottom of the page, and http://www.sec.noaa.gov/weekly/pdf/prf1613.pdf on
page 9. Further down on page 9, you can see that the prediction for the smoothed sunspot number for August 2006 is the same as for August of next year, and the minimum is somewhere in between. That means according to this graph, a year from now the new solar cycle will be bouncing back from the minimum, and rising past the point where we are now. The smoothed numbers are averaged over many months (I think this graph uses a moving six-month average) to help us see past the ''noise'' of daily variations. This graph shows a minimum in January 2007, only five months from now, with a smoothed sunspot number of five.
73 de Larry W2LJ
Friday, August 04, 2006
The bottom is coming, the bottom is coming!
The bottom of the current solar cycle may be in sight. And from there, things can only get better! This is from the ARRL's weekly propagation bulletin: