Vol. 7 (2010) > lrsp-2010-1

doi: 10.12942/lrsp-2010-1
Living Rev. Solar Phys. 7 (2010), 1

The Solar Cycle

1 Mail Stop: 258-5, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, U.S.A.

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Article Abstract

The solar cycle is reviewed. The 11-year cycle of solar activity is characterized by the rise and fall in the numbers and surface area of sunspots. We examine a number of other solar activity indicators including the 10.7 cm radio flux, the total solar irradiance, the magnetic field, flares and coronal mass ejections, geomagnetic activity, galactic cosmic ray fluxes, and radioisotopes in tree rings and ice cores that vary in association with the sunspots. We examine the characteristics of individual solar cycles including their maxima and minima, cycle periods and amplitudes, cycle shape, and the nature of active latitudes, hemispheres, and longitudes. We examine long-term variability including the Maunder Minimum, the Gleissberg Cycle, and the Gnevyshev–Ohl Rule. Short-term variability includes the 154-day periodicity, quasi-biennial variations, and double peaked maxima. We conclude with an examination of prediction techniques for the solar cycle.

Keywords: Sunspots, Solar cycle, Solar cycle prediction, Solar activity

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Article Citation

Since a Living Reviews in Solar Physics article may evolve over time, please cite the access <date>, which uniquely identifies the version of the article you are referring to:

David H. Hathaway,
"The Solar Cycle",
Living Rev. Solar Phys. 7,  (2010),  1. URL (cited on <date>):

Article History

ORIGINAL http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2010-1
Title The Solar Cycle
Author David H. Hathaway
Date accepted 21 February 2010, published 2 March 2010
UPDATE http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2015-4
Title The Solar Cycle
Author David H. Hathaway
Date accepted 11 March 2015, published 21 September 2015
Changes The review has been thoroughly revised and updated. Extended Sections 3 on “Solar Activity Data” (3.2, 3.7), 4 on “Individual Cycle Characteristics” (4.6, 4.9, 4.13, 4.14) and 7 on “Solar Cycle Predictions” (7.4 and 7.5). Section 8 on “Cycle 23/24” was added in this update. Five new figures were added and others updated. The number of references increased from 138 to 251.
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