Vol 8, No 4

A Running Average Method for Predicting the Size and Length of a Solar Cycle

Zhan-Le Du, Hua-Ning Wang, Li-Yun Zhang


Abstract The running correlation coefficient between the solar cycle amplitudes and the max-max cycle lengths at a given cycle lag is found to vary roughly in a cyclical wave with the cycle number, based on the smoothed monthly mean Group sunspot numbers available since 1610. A running average method is proposed to predict the size and length of a solar cycle by the use of the varying trend of the coefficients. It is found that, when a condition (that the correlation becomes stronger) is satisfied, the mean prediction error (16.1) is much smaller than when the condition is not satisfied (38.7). This result can be explained by the fact that the prediction must fall on the regression line and increase the strength of the correlation. The method itself can also indicate whether the prediction is reasonable or not. To obtain a reasonable prediction, it is more important to search for a running correlation coefficient whose varying trend satisfies the proposed condition, and the result does not depend so much on the size of the correlation coefficient. As an application, the peak sunspot number of cycle 24 is estimated as 140.4±15.7, and the peak as May 2012±11 months.



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