Is There a Link between Cold UK Winters and Solar Activity?

Could a link between a lull in solar activity and jet streams over the Atlantic Ocean be the result for why the UK is suffering colder winters while the rest of the world warms?

[social_buttons]According to a new report published in the Institute of Physics Publishing’s Environmental Research Letters points out that we are moving into an era of low solar activity which authors believe is likely to result in UK winter temperatures more akin to those seen at the end of the seventeenth century.

“This year’s winter in the UK has been the 14th coldest in the last 160 years and yet the global average temperature for the same period has been the 5th highest,” says lead author Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading. “We have discovered that this kind of anomaly is significantly more common when solar activity is low.”

The new study compares the most comprehensive and regionally specific temperature dataset available, the Central England Temperature dataset, to the long-term behaviour of our Sun’s magnetic field, and to the trends that occur across the Northern Hemisphere.

The author’s study suggests that a phenomenon called ‘blocking’ might be the reason behind the unusually cold winters occurring in the UK. “’Blocking,’” according to the IOP press release, “is related to the jet stream which brings winds from the west, over the Atlantic, and into Northern Europe but, over the past couple of winters, could have lost its way, for weeks at a time, in an ‘anticyclone’ before it reaches Europe.”

Researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between weaker solar activity and occurrences of blocking taking place. The temperature is affected by a weaker Sun which then affects the wind’s patterns which allows north-easterlies to arrive in from the Arctic unhampered by the warmer westerly winds coming in from the Atlantic.

This isn’t a perfect prediction that cold winters are coming, but Professor Mike Lockwood does believe colder winters to be more likely. “If we look at the last period of very low solar activity at the end of the seventeenth century, we find the coldest winter on record in 1684 but, for example, the very next year, when solar activity was still low, saw the third warmest winter in the entire 350-year record.”

It’s important to look at studies like this because it helps us realize that we are not always in possession of all the facts. Cold winters have been proof by some global-warming sceptics that the planet isn’t warming at all. But, on the other hand, those who do believe man has had a deleterious effect on planet Earth need to be aware of these sorts of studies which don’t actually point to our preconceived notions.

We simply can’t blame everything on global warming and we simply can’t deny that global warming is happening.


Because we simply don’t know enough yet to say either way. Educated guesses are all good and well, but don’t think you know everything.

Source: Physorg

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