Prediction of Solar Cycle 24 Using Geomagnetic Precursors: Validation and Update
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In the previous study (Dabas et al. in Solar Phys.250, 171, 2008), to predict the maximum sunspot number of the current solar cycle 24 based on the geomagnetic activity of the preceding sunspot minimum, the Ap index was used which is available from the last six to seven solar cycles. Since a longer series of the aa index is available for more than the last 10 – 12 cycles, the present study utilizes aa to validate the earlier prediction. Based on the same methodology, the disturbance index (DI), which is the 12-month moving average of the number of disturbed days (aa≥50), is computed at thirteen selected times (called variate blocks 1,2,…,13; each of them in six-month duration) during the declining portion of the ongoing sunspot cycle. Then its correlation with the maximum sunspot number of the following cycle is evaluated. As in the case of Ap, variate block 9, which occurs exactly 48 months after the current cycle maximum, gives the best correlation (R=0.96) with a minimum standard error of estimation (SEE) of ± 9. As applied to cycle 24, the aa index as precursor yields the maximum sunspot number of about 120±16 (the 90% prediction interval), which is within the 90% prediction interval of the earlier prediction (124±23 using Ap). Furthermore, the same method is applied to an expanded range of cycles 11 – 23, and once again variate block 9 gives the best correlation (R=0.95) with a minimum SEE of ± 13. The relation yields the modified maximum amplitude for cycle 24 of about 131±20, which is also close to our earlier prediction and is likely to occur at about 43±4 months after its minimum (December 2008), probably in July 2012 (± 4 months).
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