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Nordita Astrophysics seminars

Predicting the Sun’s Magnetic Activity Cycle

by Dibyendu Nandi (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata)

122:026 ()


Four hundred years of sunspot observations starting with the pioneering contributions of Galileo Galilei have established the existence of the sunspot cycle. The solar activity cycle – known to be a manifestation of the magnetic cycle of the Sun – governs interplanetary space environmental conditions, impacts space-based technologies and forces the Earth’s climate. The theoretical formalism of the solar cycle is based on principles of magnetohydrodynamics whose foundations were laid by the Swedish physicist and Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén . In spite of sustained efforts, predicting the Sun’s activity, and hence its influence on our space environment and climate has remained an outstanding challenge in astrophysics. In this talk, I shall provide a basic introduction to the sunspot cycle and demonstrate how universal concepts of non-linear dynamics, stochastic fluctuations and dynamical memory has come together over the last decade to reveal the physics of solar cycle predictability. Based on our recent work I will also present a prediction of the amplitude and timing of the next sunspot cycle and discuss its implications for space-environmental conditions and solar forcing of climate over the next decade.