The persistence of solar activity indicators and the descent of the sun into Maunder Minimum conditions
Lockwood, M., Owens, M. J., Barnard, L., Davis, C. J. and Steinhilber, F. (2011) The persistence of solar activity indicators and the descent of the sun into Maunder Minimum conditions. Geophysical Research Letters, 38. L22105. ISSN 0094-8276
To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049811
The recent low and prolonged minimum of the solar cycle, along with the slow growth in activity of the new cycle, has led to suggestions that the Sun is entering a Grand Solar Minimum (GSMi), potentially as deep as the Maunder Minimum (MM). This raises questions about the persistence and predictability of solar activity. We study the autocorrelation functions and predictability R^2_L(t) of solar indices, particularly group sunspot number R_G and heliospheric modulation potential phi for which we have data during the descent into the MM. For R_G and phi, R^2_L (t) > 0.5 for times into the future of t = 4 and 3 solar cycles, respectively: sufficient to allow prediction of a GSMi onset. The lower predictability of sunspot number R_Z is discussed. The current declines in peak and mean R_G are the largest since the onset of the MM and exceed those around 1800 which failed to initiate a GSMi.