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PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle 24... and More Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA

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Presentation on theme: "PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle 24... and More Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA"— Presentation transcript:

1 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle and More Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA

2 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA What Were Going to Cover Review of Cycle 23 Review of Cycle 23 Generate our own prediction for Cycle 24 Generate our own prediction for Cycle 24 Cycle 24 information Cycle 24 information Cycle 24 impact to Contesting and DXing Cycle 24 impact to Contesting and DXing –When Will EU Be Back on the Higher Bands? –Why Was IARU 2009 So Good? –Predictions for the Glorioso DXpedition This presentation will be on the PVRC website visit click on the PVRC Webinars link at the top

3 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Caveat This presentation is from an Amateur Radio perspective This presentation is from an Amateur Radio perspective –In other words, mostly related to HF propagation The Suns solar radiation and the Suns disturbances are important in other ways The Suns solar radiation and the Suns disturbances are important in other ways –Radiation hazards to astronauts and satellites –Magnetic field activity inducing huge currents at ground level –Orbit mechanics –Impact to climate –Over-the-pole airline flights For a broader exposure to solar issues, visit the Marshall Space Flight Center web site at For a broader exposure to solar issues, visit the Marshall Space Flight Center web site athttp://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/

4 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Speaking of the MSFC... One of the well-known MSFC solar scientists is Dr. David Hathaway One of the well-known MSFC solar scientists is Dr. David Hathaway –His latest update on Cycle 24 and solar issues was Saturday at the Huntsville (AL) Hamfest –If you have a chance to attend one of his presentations, do it! Dr. Hathaways conclusion Solar Cycle 24 has begun but is expected to be very weak Dr. Hathaways conclusion Solar Cycle 24 has begun but is expected to be very weak His 2009 presentation is the first one on the list at His 2009 presentation is the first one on the list at

5 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Meridional flow equator magnetic pole Nandy & Choudhuri (2002) A poleward surface flow A poleward surface flow Sinks inward in the polar regions Sinks inward in the polar regions Returns to the equator at some depth. Returns to the equator at some depth.

6 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA A Review of Cycle 23

7 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle 23 Began in mid 1996 Began in mid 1996 Maximum smoothed sunspot number of 121 in April 2000 Maximum smoothed sunspot number of 121 in April 2000 Second peak in November 2001 Second peak in November 2001 –Smoothed sunspot number of 116 –Great northern hemisphere 6m F2 openings due to winter peak

8 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Daily, Monthly, Smoothed Daily sunspot number (yellow) is very spiky Daily sunspot number (yellow) is very spiky Monthly mean sunspot number (blue) is still spiky Monthly mean sunspot number (blue) is still spiky Smoothed sunspot number (red) is very smooth Smoothed sunspot number (red) is very smooth –Official measure of a sunspot cycle The smoothed sunspot number correlates very well to monthly median ionospheric parameters (foE, foF2, hmF2, etc) The smoothed sunspot number correlates very well to monthly median ionospheric parameters (foE, foF2, hmF2, etc) –Our propagation prediction programs are based on this correlation Our propagation predictions are statistical in nature over a months time frame

9 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle 23 Compared to Others Early on it was very similar to Cycle 20, which peaked in late 1968 Early on it was very similar to Cycle 20, which peaked in late 1968 It was right around the average maximum of all previous cycles (which is a smoothed sunspot number of 114) It was right around the average maximum of all previous cycles (which is a smoothed sunspot number of 114) Its going longer than the average duration of all previous cycles (which is 10.8 years) Its going longer than the average duration of all previous cycles (which is 10.8 years) It is lower at solar minimum than the average of all previous minimums (which is a smoothed sunspot number of 6) It is lower at solar minimum than the average of all previous minimums (which is a smoothed sunspot number of 6)

10 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA This Solar Minimum solar minimum is unusual compared to other solar minimums in our lifetimes This solar minimum is unusual compared to other solar minimums in our lifetimes

11 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA A Look at All Historical Data This solar minimum not that unusual with respect to all other solar minimums (yet!)

12 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Our Own Prediction for Cycle 24

13 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Long Term Look at Solar Activity Good sunspot records only go back to the early/mid 1700s Good sunspot records only go back to the early/mid 1700s We can (with reasonable confidence) reconstruct solar activity from cosmogenic nuclides We can (with reasonable confidence) reconstruct solar activity from cosmogenic nuclides – 10 Be in ice cores – 14 C in tree rings Cosmogenic nuclides are the result of galactic cosmic rays Cosmogenic nuclides are the result of galactic cosmic rays –High energy protons in the 500 MeV to 20 GeV range –Galactic cosmic rays create showers of secondary particles, which eventually includes 10 Be and 14 C google galactic cosmic rays and cosmic ray shower

14 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Galactic Cosmic Rays The Suns magnetic field is stronger during sunspot maximum The Suns magnetic field is stronger during sunspot maximum Strong magnetic field shields Earth from galactic cosmic rays Strong magnetic field shields Earth from galactic cosmic rays The result is less nuclides coming to Earth The result is less nuclides coming to Earth Thus nuclides are low when solar activity is high Thus nuclides are low when solar activity is high And vice versa – nuclides are high when solar activity is low And vice versa – nuclides are high when solar activity is low Since galactic cosmic rays show an inverse relationship to the sunspot cycle, so do nuclides

15 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Long Term Look at Solar Activity Remember that high 14 C indicates low solar activity and vice versa There are cycles to solar activity other than the 11-year cycle Cycles 5, 6, 7

16 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA All 23 Cycles We can see those other cycles in this data We can see those other cycles in this data Three maximum periods Three maximum periods –Weve lived through the most intense of these three maximum periods Two minimum periods Two minimum periods We appear to be headed for another minimum period We appear to be headed for another minimum period Dalton Minimum un-named Minimum Thus our simple (over-simple?) prediction is for a low Cycle 24

17 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Next Max vs Previous Min Cycle 19 – short minimum period before big maximum Where the current minimum is headed? Trend that also points to a low Cycle 24

18 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle 24 Information

19 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Good News - Cycle 24 Has Started solar equator Cycle 24 spots Cycle 23 spots White is outward magnetic field line Black is inward magnetic field line

20 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Latest Prediction from NOAA Solar minimum was in December 2008 Solar minimum was in December 2008 Maximum of ~ 90 in mid 2013 Maximum of ~ 90 in mid 2013 Prior to this recent prediction, NOAA had been carrying two predictions Prior to this recent prediction, NOAA had been carrying two predictions –One for a high cycle (140) –One for a low cycle (90) Just two predictions? Nope! Just two predictions? Nope!

21 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Many Other Predictions We simply dont fully understand the processes in the Sun that generate solar cycles, thus many different methods employed

22 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Solar Min in Dec 2008 – Really? Lack of recent sunspots suggests Cycle 24 will not be ramping up per the NOAA prediction Lack of recent sunspots suggests Cycle 24 will not be ramping up per the NOAA prediction –40 spotless days and counting ( More bad news – the Australian IPS (Ionospheric Prediction Service) has predicted that solar minimum wont occur until April 2010 More bad news – the Australian IPS (Ionospheric Prediction Service) has predicted that solar minimum wont occur until April 2010 –http://www.ips.gov.au/Solar/1/6 If we continue to have more spotless days, then solar minimum could be around a while If we continue to have more spotless days, then solar minimum could be around a while Oh, no – April 2010 ! !

23 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Where Is Cycle 24? This is the third to the last slide in Dr. Hathaways 2009 presentation

24 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Another Maunder Minimum? Its just too early to tell with any confidence

25 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Wrong Cycle 24 Predictions Are you frustrated with wrong solar cycle predictions? Are you frustrated with wrong solar cycle predictions? Remember whats happening here Remember whats happening here –Solar scientists dont fully understand the solar cycle process –They are using the scientific method to put forth theories and then test their theories with previous cycles and with the progress (or lack thereof) of Cycle 24 –With solar cycles lasting around 11 years, its a slow process Many of these theories have predicted past performance (several previous solar cycles) very well Many of these theories have predicted past performance (several previous solar cycles) very well But its obvious were still missing something But its obvious were still missing something

26 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Helioseismology The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear The stream associated with Cycle 24 has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to only two years for the previous solar cycle. The stream associated with Cycle 24 has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to only two years for the previous solar cycle. The jet stream is now, finally, reaching the critical latitude, hopefully heralding a return of solar activity in the months and years ahead The jet stream is now, finally, reaching the critical latitude, hopefully heralding a return of solar activity in the months and years ahead A helioseismic map of the solar interior. Tilted red-yellow bands trace solar jet streams. Black contours denote sunspot activity. Minimum between Cycle 22 and 23

27 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Cycle 24 Impact to Contesting and DXing

28 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA When Is EU Going to Be Back? 15m to EU – smoothed sunspot number > 25 (10.7 cm smoothed solar flux > 85) 15m to EU – smoothed sunspot number > 25 (10.7 cm smoothed solar flux > 85) 10m to EU - smoothed sunspot number > 50 (10.7 cm smoothed solar flux > 100) 10m to EU - smoothed sunspot number > 50 (10.7 cm smoothed solar flux > 100) Thus consistent F2 openings to EU may return for Thus consistent F2 openings to EU may return for –15m in early 2010 (ARRL DX) –10m in late 2010 (CQ WW) To reiterate – this is all based on Cycle 24 ramping up soon To reiterate – this is all based on Cycle 24 ramping up soon 10m may be back for CQ WW in m may be back for ARRL DX in 2010

29 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Why Was IARU 2009 So Good? The week before the IARU 2009 weekend had the highest burst of sunspot activity in a long time The week before the IARU 2009 weekend had the highest burst of sunspot activity in a long time This was coupled with a low Ap index This was coupled with a low Ap index The result? Great high band openings The result? Great high band openings Qs on the Higher Bands 15m 10m OL9HQ A0HQ LY0HQ YR0HQ W1AW/KL IARU 2009

30 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Glorioso DXpedition Glorioso is #4 Worldwide Mixed Mode in the 2008 DX Magazine 100 Most Needed Countries Survey (more details in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue) Glorioso is #4 Worldwide Mixed Mode in the 2008 DX Magazine 100 Most Needed Countries Survey (more details in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue)

31 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Glorioso - September 2009 Run predictions using your favorite prediction program 20m will likely be your best band East Coast will likely have good 17m opportunities, too Two delays so far Two delays so far –1 st attempt - May 2008 –2 nd attempt – July 2009 If September 2009 happens, could be a better If September 2009 happens, could be a better –Equinox month – higher MUFs –More sunspots (we can always hope!) If they delay even more, then the higher bands may be productive! If they delay even more, then the higher bands may be productive!

32 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Great Circle Paths to Glorioso East CoastMidwest West Coast maps from W6ELProp (free download at Glorioso sunrise is 0248 UTC Glorioso sunrise is 0248 UTC –East Coast has about 3 hours 45 minutes of common darkness –Midwest has about 2 hours 20 minutes of common darkness –West Coast has about 45 minutes of common darkness Path goes to progressively higher latitudes as we move West Path goes to progressively higher latitudes as we move West –Lower MUFs, more susceptible to disturbances

33 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Summary I believe solar scientists are headed towards a consensus that Cycle 24 will be a low one I believe solar scientists are headed towards a consensus that Cycle 24 will be a low one –This also suggests Cycle 25 will be low The question with respect to Cycle 24 is when will it start ramping up? The question with respect to Cycle 24 is when will it start ramping up? –The answer: sometime between soon and later Regardless of what Cycle 24 does, there will be lots of DX to work and lots of QSOs to be made in contests Regardless of what Cycle 24 does, there will be lots of DX to work and lots of QSOs to be made in contests So get radio-active!

34 PVRC Webinar - 19Aug09 - K9LA Q & A For good technical information and tutorials about solar issues, I highly recommend the MSFC web site at This PowerPoint file is at


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