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Sun's 11-year cycle means we're in for Arctic freeze this winter, say scientists by Leon Watson
Monday, October 10th 2011, 7:45 AM EDT
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Study measures sun's UV radiation to 'predict' seasons

First-ever 'high-resolution' scan of solar radiation

Cycle's effect on weather 'greater than first thought'

This year's low radiation makes for cold Easterly winds

It's been a lovely Indian summer - but it could come back to bite us.

That's what scientists predict after working out the first ever pattern of activity for the sun.

According to research, the sun runs on an 11-year cycle - and this affects winter weather over the northern hemisphere.

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The study says low solar activity can contribute to cold winters in the UK, northern Europe and parts of America.

Which is bad for us - because the sun is just emerging from a so-called solar minimum, when solar activity is at its lowest.

It means after a baking hot September, we could be in for a repeat of last year's big freeze.

But the study also raises the possibility that weathermen can predict cold winter weather over the northern hemisphere using the solar cycle.

Dr Adam Scaife, from the Met Office, one of the study's authors, said: 'Our research establishes the link between the solar cycle and winter climate as more than just coincidence.

'We've been able to reproduce a consistent climate pattern, confirm how it works, and quantify it using a computer model.

'This isn't the sole driver of winter climate over our region, but it is a significant factor and understanding it is important for seasonal to decadal forecasting.'

Up until now, researchers have only managed to see a weak link between solar activity and winter weather.

It was understood that when the sun is less active, we're more likely to see weak westerly winds during the winter in the northern hemisphere.

This pattern suggests that easterly winds could bring cold weather from the continent to the UK.

But scientists have struggled to incorporate these ultraviolet (UV) signals into climate models.

Today's findings, published in Nature Geoscience, used satellite measurements from NASA's Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) to reveal that differences in UV light reaching the Earth during the 11-year solar cycle are larger than previously thought.

The satellite, launched in 2003, is the first ever to measure solar radiation across the entire UV spectrum.

Click source to read FULL report from Leon Watson

Also see: Solar variability helps explain cold winters -

Ultraviolet light shone on cold winter conundrum - Richard Black - BBC News
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