An empirical approach to predicting the key parameters for a sunspot number cycle .
The common methodologies used to predict the smooth sunspot number (SSN) at peak (Rmax) and the rise time (Tr) for a cycle are noted. The estimates based on geomagnetic precursors give the best prediction of Rmax for five SSN cycles (20-24). In particular, an empirical technique invoking three-cycle quasi-periodicity (TCQP) in Ap index has made accurate predictions of Rmax and Tr for two consecutive SSN cycles (23 and 24). The dynamo theories are unable to account for TCQP. If it endures in the 21st century the Sun shall enter a Dalton-like grand minimum. It was a period of global cooling. The current status of the ascending phase of cycle 24 is described and the delayed reversal of the solar polar field reversal in the southern hemisphere in September 2013 is noted.