Sunspot numbers provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have exceeded the official forecast made by the Solar Cycle Prediction Panel for 18 straight months in April 2022. The monthly value at the end of March was more than twice the forecast and the highest in nearly 7 years.
“New sunspot counts from NOAA confirm that Solar Cycle 25 is racing ahead of the official forecast–and the gap is growing,” Dr. Tony Phillips of SpaceWeather.com said on April 5, 2022.1
In March 2022, the Sun produced 146 solar flares, including one X-flare and 13 M-flares, resulting in geomagnetic storms that made auroras be seen as far south as Colorado (+38N) and Nebraska (+42N).
In addition, there were multiple shortwave radio blackouts that disrupted communications on ships at sea and airplanes flying over the poles.
“If the current trends continue, April will be even busier,” Phillips added.
“The Panel predicted that Solar Cycle 25 would peak in July 2025 as a relatively weak cycle, similar in magnitude to its predecessor Solar Cycle 24. Instead, Solar Cycle 25 is shaping up to be stronger.”
1 Solar Cycle Update – SpaceWeather.com – April 5, 2022
Featured image credit: NOAA/SWPC
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