Coach House Geography

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Sun’s magnetic field may have caused freezing winter

Posted by Lindy on April 18, 2010


http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/suns-magnetic-field-may-have-caused-freezing-winter-1945362.html

It was the coldest winter in England since 1963 – the coldest in Scotland since 1914 – and weeks of ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures from last December to March defied predictions by climate-change scientists of milder, wetter winters. So what happened?

The jet stream normally brings mild, damp westerly winds over Britain during winter but this year it went into “blocking” mode, sweeping back on itself and allowing a bitterly cold north-east wind to blow over the country, bringing ice and snow with it.

Scientists have found a link between blocking changes to the jet stream that result in colder winters and variations in the “activity” of the Sun, as measured by alterations in its magnetic field. This could mean that the UK can expect more cold winters than usual in the coming decade, despite global warming.

The researchers behind the controversial idea emphasised that their findings do not contradict the scientific consensus on man-made climate change. They said that global warming is still set to dominate the world’s climate, but that the relatively small region of Britain and north-west Europe could nevertheless be in line for more frequent, colder-than-expected winters, just like the last one. The sun is going through anunusually dormant phase of solar activity and this is the underlying cause.

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