The Royal Observatory of Belgium released new predictions of the solar cycle progression on february the 1st. According to the graph a considerable increase in number of sunspots could be expected any time soon. Hooray!
Two sunspot number predictions
The diagram below (yellow line) shows the daily number of observed sunspots over the last 13 years, along with predictions for the coming year. Blue line shows the monthly number of observed sunspots, and the red line is the smoothed value. Predicted values are indicated with the dotted lines.
We can observe two different predictions in the diagram; SC and CM. They are two different regression methods. The lowest of them, SC is the least reliable of the two when the cycle is at its lowest – just like the situation we have now. More on this can be found at http://sidc.oma.be/silso/dayssnplot.
OK, OK, I do realize that the future is hard to tell, and it is still a bit early to pop the bottle and raise the antenna. We actually cannot tell if the next cycle is starting until it already has. In any case we sure can see the light in the end of the tunnel. Golden days of superior propagation are coming!