Solar Minimum Continues

By: WITN Weather
By: WITN Weather

Earth is undergoing one of the longest solar minimums in a century.

I've been following the progress of sunspots or lack thereof for the past couple of years.  The sun typically goes through 11-year sunspot cycles.  There are usually a large number of sunspots during the maximum and fewer sunspots or none at all during the minimum.  The maximum and minimum usually occur within the 11-year cycle.  As of today we are experiencing the longest sunspot minimum in a century.  For example, the average number of spotless days in a full cycle is 485.  So far we've had a total of 637 days, which makes it an extreme event.  Historical data suggests that we may enter a protracted period of time with fewer sunspots than usual.  Earth typically cools a bit when there are fewer sunspots and some scientists now believe temperatures are lower than a few years ago.  On the other hand, some scientist believe that carbon emissions will more than offset any cooling caused by the lack of sunspots.  We should know the answer in a few years. 

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