Forecasting solar cycle 24 using neural networks

Uwamahoro, Jean (2009) Forecasting solar cycle 24 using neural networks. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The ability to predict the future behavior of solar activity has become of extreme importance due to its effect on the near-Earth environment. Predictions of both the amplitude and timing of the next solar cycle will assist in estimating the various consequences of Space Weather. Several prediction techniques have been applied and have achieved varying degrees of success in the domain of solar activity prediction. These techniques include, for example, neural networks and geomagnetic precursor methods. In this thesis, various neural network based models were developed and the model considered to be optimum was used to estimate the shape and timing of solar cycle 24. Given the recent success of the geomagnetic precusrsor methods, geomagnetic activity as measured by the aa index is considered among the main inputs to the neural network model. The neural network model developed is also provided with the time input parameters defining the year and the month of a particular solar cycle, in order to characterise the temporal behaviour of sunspot number as observed during the last 10 solar cycles. The structure of input-output patterns to the neural network is constructed in such a way that the network learns the relationship between the aa index values of a particular cycle, and the sunspot number values of the following cycle. Assuming January 2008 as the minimum preceding solar cycle 24, the shape and amplitude of solar cycle 24 is estimated in terms of monthly mean and smoothed monthly sunspot number. This new prediction model estimates an average solar cycle 24, with the maximum occurring around June 2012 [± 11 months], with a smoothed monthly maximum sunspot number of 121 ± 9.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Solar activity; sunspots; geomagnetic fields; neural networks
Subjects:Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Physics & Electronics
Supervisors:McKinnell, L. (Dr)
ID Code:1626
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:28 Apr 2010 07:48
Last Modified:01 Aug 2012 13:04
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