by Javier, June 7, 2018 in WUWT
Solar cycle 24 is ending and we are approaching a time of minimal solar activity between solar cycles 24 and 25, known as a solar minimum. Despite claims that we understand how the Sun works, our solar predictive skills are still wanting, and the Sun continues to be full of surprises.
The surprising 2008 solar minimum
Solar scientists did not pay much attention to the early warning signs that the Sun was behaving differently during solar cycle 23 (SC23), and to most the surprise came when the expected solar minimum failed to show up in 2006. The SC23-24 minimum took place two years later (Dec 2008, according to SIDC), and despite showing only a tiny difference in total solar irradiation compared to previous minima of the space age, it displayed significantly reduced solar wind speed and density, extreme-UV flux was 10% reduced, the polar fields were 50% smaller, and the interplanetary magnetic field strength was 30% below past minima.