Link between solar activity and the UK's cold winters

Apr 15, 2010
The Sun. Image: SOHO

A link between low solar activity and jet streams over the Atlantic could explain why, despite global warming trends, people in regions North East of the Atlantic Ocean might need to brace themselves for more frequent cold winters in years to come.

A new report published today, Thursday 15 April, in IOP Publishing's Environmental Research Letters describes how we are moving into an era of lower which is likely to result in UK winter temperatures more like those seen at the end of the seventeenth century.

Lead author Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading said: "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. We have discovered that this kind of anomaly is significantly more common when solar activity is low."

The new paper, 'Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity?', differs from previous efforts to explain the UK's recent cold winters by comparing the most comprehensive, but regionally specific, temperature dataset available (the Central England Temperature dataset) to the long-term behaviour of the Sun's , and to trends across the entire .

The paper is being published now as the researchers have just had the opportunity to put this year's data to the test and found that this year's results fit well with the trends they have discovered.

The researchers suggest that the anomaly in Northern Europe's could be to do with a phenomenon called 'blocking'.

'Blocking' 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.

The researchers have found strong correlations between weak solar activity and the occurrences of 'blocking'. As the temperature is affected by a weak Sun so the wind's patterns also change and, as the warmer westerly winds fail to arrive, the UK is hit by north-easterlies from the Arctic.

The researchers, from the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, the Science and Technology Facilities Council Space Science and Technology Department, and the Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, are keen to stress the regional and seasonal (European and winter) nature of their research.

Professor Mike Lockwood has explained that the trends do not guarantee colder winters but they do suggest that colder winters will become more frequent. He said: "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 in the entire 350-year record.

"The results do show however that there are a greater number of cold UK winters when solar activity is low."

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More information: The paper can be found in IOP Publishing's open-access journal Environmental Research Letters at stacks.iop.org/1748-9326/5/024001 .

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User comments : 27

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Loodt
2 / 5 (12) Apr 15, 2010
The SUN having an effect on the weather and climate on Gaia?

What a revolutionary idea!

These heretics should be burned at the stake for spreading such preposterous and outrageous doctrines!
Doug_Huffman
2.5 / 5 (11) Apr 15, 2010
Poor poor Gaia! We humans, Gaia lice, are heavily cautioned about sunburn. Maybe Mother Earth huggers should give her the same advice.
JayK
3.1 / 5 (11) Apr 15, 2010
This is a regional effect, which is noted very well in the article that the previous two commenters have given no indication of actually reading.
iknow
3 / 5 (8) Apr 15, 2010
We think this is a regional effect ... the fact that the Sun heats the whole earth has no effect of course.

And cold winters obviously mean Global Warming , innit?
3432682
2 / 5 (12) Apr 15, 2010
So we just had the 5th warmest year? Is that based on the adjusted temperatures, the ones which double the amount of warming? Or is that based on the reduction of temperatures of decades ago? Or is it based on the selected urban-biased and low-altitude-biased temp stations? Or is it the temperature when we remove virtually all the most northern stations in Canada and Russia? Answer: All of the above, plus more tricks. In other words, it's all garbage. The higher the quality of the set of temperature stations selected, the lower the apparent increase in temperature: the set of best stations show virtually no warming (1/10 degree F in 100+ years). So these smaller-area studies are nice, but the big picture is that the UN IPCC has been scamming us every way they can think of.
JayK
2.8 / 5 (9) Apr 15, 2010
East Anglica climate experts cleared of wrong-doing:
http://www.washin...eadlines

So you were saying?
Shootist
2.3 / 5 (12) Apr 15, 2010
East Anglica climate experts cleared of wrong-doing:
http://www.washin...eadlines

So you were saying?


Tried and found innocent by crooks as well.
philosothink
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 16, 2010
oh how amusing it is to watch the Believers and Deniers attack one another over Climate Change... It'll be interesting when both sides find themselves living in the bad times ahead, somewhere between doom and gloom and "it's not happening".

the truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
TegiriNenashi
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2010
Truth may be in the middle, but what are the implications? Do we have to spend 5 trillion dollars instead of 10? P.S. I ranked your comment somewhere in the middle as well.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2010
East Anglica climate experts cleared of wrong-doing:
http://www.washin...eadlines

So you were saying?


Well, I for one am not all that surprised. I especially found interesting the following from your link:
Set up and funded by the University of East Anglia, the review panel was led by Ernest Oxburg -- a geologist and former academic who is the honorary president of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and is involved with the wind-energy company Falck Renewables.


The person in charge was funded by the institution to which CRU belongs and also has vested interests in wind energy and Carbon sequestration, both of which become less relevant or at least less pressing if the CRU is found to have committed fraud. I am not surprised at all by their 'clearing' by them.

As to the article, it is pretty much a no-brainer that when solar activity is lower things will cool.
JayK
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2010
As to the article, it is pretty much a no-brainer that when solar activity is lower things will cool.

Do you know how I can tell you don't understand the "global" part of AGW?
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
As to the article, it is pretty much a no-brainer that when solar activity is lower things will cool.

Do you know how I can tell you don't understand the "global" part of AGW?


Because you are lame and cannot understand my actual stance on the matter no matter how many times I have posted it elsewhere? :)

The signal of the LIA and MWP is found in proxies in both the northern and southern hemisphere. That makes them global in spite of your overeaching desire to elevate Mann to godhood in an Herculean effort to eliminate the MWP and LIA.

But as to the LIA, it is also a no-brainer that glaciation occurs primarily on the northern hemisphere. The signal may appear in other proxies around the globe but it is strongest in the north.

In addition, as you should already know I do not subscribe to AGW but to GW. Climate scientists have yet to convince me to add the A to GW. Climate always is changing and always has. So long as there is water on earth it always will.
Skepticus_Rex_
Apr 27, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
mary_hinge
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
....
As to the article, it is pretty much a no-brainer that when solar activity is lower things will cool.


Really? So why is it that solar activity has been falling since the '80's and temperatures have been rising....and why is it that whilst the sun has been at its lowest activity temperatures are higher than previously recorded?
This is a rhetorical question by the way, no responses about mangoes and chillies please...has SR lost the plot?
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Really? So why is it that solar activity has been falling since the '80's and temperatures have been rising....and why is it that whilst the sun has been at its lowest activity temperatures are higher than previously recorded?
This is a rhetorical question by the way, no responses about mangoes and chillies please...has SR lost the plot?


No, sockpuppets have once again infested this website. Check the _ at the end of the above sockpuppet's username and compare it to my own username.

By the way, temperatures have not been rising globally. In other regions the temps have been falling again. Your 'rhetorical' question does not make much sense in light of the above article regarding cooling in the UK. In addition, it makes even less sense since there is a lag time between lowering solar activity and cooling.

Please try to remember that this last year was the fifth warmest year. If it were the warmest year, you might have had more of a point. :)
JayK
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Please try to remember that this last year was the fifth warmest year. If it were the warmest year, you might have had more of a point. :)

Want to know how I know you don't understand statistics?
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Please try to remember that this last year was the fifth warmest year. If it were the warmest year, you might have had more of a point. :)

Want to know how I know you don't understand statistics?


Because you are lame and do not understand the subject matter, thinking that someone else misunderstands when the fault lies with you? :)

You never did answer the question in another thread regarding the so-called statistics which alternatively claim second warmest and fifth warmest globally, and which statistical method of which organization is right. Care to try to do so now rather than sockpuppeteering?
JayK
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Wait, how many aliases do you have? And you're accusing me of sockpuppetry?

Want to know how I know you're an idiot?
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Wait, how many aliases do you have? And you're accusing me of sockpuppetry?


I have only two, the one I used to use (before you misused and abused it via your sockpuppets) and the one I use now. By the way, you are a sockpuppeteer not because you misuse peoples' usernames when irritated with them but because you also have these alternate personas post to each other.

Want to know how I know you're an idiot?


Because you project your own actions and capacities onto others out of habit? :)
JayK
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Prove it, dachyass.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
Want to know how I know you're an idiot?

Because you project your own actions and capacities onto others out of habit? :)

Prove it, dachyass.


Don't need to. You do it yourself adequately enough. :)
JayK
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
So you've made multiple accusations that you have no proof of, yet stand by? I'll make sure to let the admins know.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
So you've made multiple accusations that you have no proof of, yet stand by? I'll make sure to let the admins know.


Already done. I already let them know to check IP addresses, hostnames and usernames when they investigate you. If they find no evidence that you are behind the sockpuppeteering, I will recant and apologize. Not until then, however.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
I just find it phenominally interesting that sockpuppets (including the newest!) suddenly show up to uprank you when people downrank you. That is yet another pretty good indicator of the truth behind the situation. Well, there is that and vocabulary, style and same sorts of insults used the same way shared between you and the sockpuppets. :)
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2010
So, JayK, are you going to answer the questions or not?

Which institution is right? The one that claims 'second warmest' or the ones that claim 'fifth warmest'? Which is the one we should choose and why is it right?

Still waiting... :)
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Apr 28, 2010
Still no answers to the questions? Well, I suppose it would be alright if you used your new Skepticus_Rex_ sockpuppet to answer if you are too shy to do it under your own username. :)
Skepticus_Rex_
1 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2010
Answer my question JayK and while your at it explain why you don't think a conjunction with Uranus and pleiades on December 21st 2012 won't be rexponsible for Armageddon...it's in revelations people!!
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2010
Well, you used your rear-underscore sockpuppet but no answer is forthcoming it would seem... I am not at all surprised. :)