The year of the quiet sun

Solar cycle 24 is drawing to a close. It’s numbered 24 because it’s the 24th 11 year cycle since 1755. It started in December 2008 and has been under active as solar cycles go, reaching a peak I reckon in late February of 2014. I notice that the Wikipedia article about it already says that a sunspot from cycle 25 has already occurred this month (July 2019). According to Wikipedia the two cycles can coexist at the time of transition from one cycle to the next – not a lot of people know that.

As of April 2018, the sun showed signs of a reverse magnetic polarity sunspot appearing and beginning this solar cycle. It is typical during the transition from one cycle to the next to experience a period where sunspots of both polarities exist (during the solar minimum).

Wikipedia – Solar Cycle 25

The following is a graph of daily sunspot numbers during solar cycle 24 up to the end of June 2019.

The following graph shows the monthly sunspot totals (orange) as well as the days with no sunspots at all (grey). The number of days with no sunspots at all is probably a better way of determining when one cycle is ending and another starting than using the sunspot count.

So when is solar cycle 25 expected to start? Well some scientists think by the end of this year, but what it means to the weather down here on earth is anyone’s guess.