Sometime in the next few months — summer or fall of 2013, according to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center — the sun will reach the solar maximum, the peak of sunspot counts during its roughly 11-year cycle. Despite the sun’s seeming regularity, each solar cycle remains to some extent unpredictable. Although the average cycle lasts about 11 years, some are as long as 14 years or as brief as nine. Solar storms might be mild during a solar maximum or severe during a minimum.
if the linked story doesn't work I originally got there from here:
Earth: here comes the solar maximum <-that at Eurekaalert.org and followed the link at the end of the story.