Application of data assimilation method for predicting solar cycles

I. Kitiashvili, A. G. Kosovichev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Despite the known general properties of the solar cycles, a reliable forecast of the 11 yr sunspot number variations is still a problem. The difficulties are caused by the apparent chaotic behavior of the sunspot numbers from cycle to cycle and by the influence of various turbulent dynamo processes, which we are far from understanding. For predicting the solar cycle properties we make an initial attempt to use the Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF), a data assimilation method, which takes into account uncertainties of a dynamo model and measurements, and allows us to estimate future observational data. We present the results of forecasting of the solar cycles obtained by the EnKF method in application to a low-mode nonlinear dynamical system modeling the solar αΩ-dynamo process with variable magnetic helicity. Calculations of the predictions for the previous sunspot cycles show a reasonable agreement with the actual data. This forecast model predicts that the next sunspot cycle will be significantly weaker (by-30%) than the previous cycle, continuing the trend of low solar activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L49-L52
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Subject headings
  • Sun: Magnetic fields
  • Sun: activity
  • Sunspots


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