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Sun blamed for Europe’s colder winters

More on the way

By Edwin Cartlidge

 

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14 Apr 10 - (Excerpts) - "When the Sun’s magnetic output is low, winters in Europe tend to be cooler than average – whereas higher output corresponds to warmer winters. That is the conclusion of a new study by physicists in the UK and Germany that looked at the relationship between winter temperatures in England and the strength of the Sun's magnetic emissions over the last 350 years. The group predicts that, global warming notwithstanding, Europe is likely to continue to experience cold winters for many years to come.

"The possibility of a link between European winter temperatures and solar activity can be seen in historical records from the second half of the seventeenth century. For about 50 years the Sun remained free of sunspots ...(and) Europe experienced a number of harsh winters. Motivated by the fact that the relatively cold winters of the past few years have come at a time when solar activity fell to the lowest values for 100 years, Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading and colleagues set out to establish whether or not there is a strong connection.

"Lockwood's group calculated changes to the total magnetic flux carried away from the Sun by the solar wind (linked to sunspot numbers) ... back to 1600.

"Changes in solar magnetic activity would affect the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun, which could then affect temperatures and wind patterns in the stratosphere, effects which, as shown by other recent research, can feed down to the troposphere – the lowest portion of the atmosphere.

"Extrapolating forward, Lockwood predicts that European winters in the coming years are likely to be colder than they have been in recent decades. He has calculated ... that there is an 8% chance that we will see another 50-year solar low starting within the next 50 years.

"Michael Mann of Penn State University in the US says the research "appears to be a very solid analysis", which "provides further support" for the idea that the Sun was behind Europe's cold winters 300 years ago. He adds that he and other researchers have shown that fluctuations in solar activity can also explain the relatively warm winters that occurred in Europe about 1000 years ago."

        This is a major admission from Michael Mann. He's the one who created
        the infamous hockey stick graph (fraudulent, in my opinion) that eliminated
        the Medieval Warm Period. An acknowledgment from Mann that something
        other that CO2 may be driving the climate is big news.

See entire article:
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/42298
Thanks to David Bennett for this link

The research is reported in Environmental Research Letters.

Edwin Cartlidge is a science writer based in Rome

 

 



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