Articles Tagged "Mike Lockwood"

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Quiet sun puts Europe on ice by Stuart Clark
Friday, April 16th 2010, 9:57 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
BRACE yourself for more winters like the last one, northern Europe. Freezing conditions could become more likely: winter temperatures may even plummet to depths last seen at the end of the 17th century, a time known as the Little Ice Age. That's the message from a new study that identifies a compelling link between solar activity and winter temperatures in northern Europe.

The research finds that low solar activity promotes the formation of giant kinks in the jet stream. These kinks can block warm westerly winds from reaching Europe, while allowing in winds from Arctic Siberia. When this happens in winter, northern Europe freezes, even though other, comparable regions of the globe may be experiencing unusually mild conditions.

Mike Lockwood at the University of Reading in the UK began his investigation because these past two relatively cold British winters coincided with a lapse in the sun's activity more profound than anything seen for a century. For most of 2008-9, sunspots virtually disappeared from the sun's surface and the buffeting of Earth by the solar magnetic field dropped to record lows since measurements began, about 150 years ago.
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Coldest weather in 30 years marks the start of a series of extreme winters by Laura Roberts, The Telegraph
Friday, April 16th 2010, 9:49 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
After enduring the coldest winter for 30 years, you might have been hoping for some respite from the cold weather.

However, scientists are now warning that Britain can expect to endure a series of extreme winters - the like of which have not seen for more than 300 years.

Researchers have found that low solar activity - marked by a decrease in the sun's magnetic field - influences the weather conditions across northern Europe.

The last time the sun showed similar behaviour, between 1650 and 1700, temperatures dropped so low that Londoners were able to skate and hold fairs on the iced-over River Thames.

According to a study published today, we are moving into "an era of low solar activity which is likely to result in UK winter temperatures more like those at the end of the Seventeenth Century."
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Calm Sun Is Bringing a Chill to England by Adam Mann
Thursday, April 15th 2010, 7:03 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
In 1801, astronomer William Herschel wrote that when sunspots were rare, the price of wheat in England jumped. Although his result is a historical footnote, a recent study has discovered a strong correlation between the sun’s cycle and temperatures in the United Kingdom. Decreased solar activity results in winter temperatures about half a degree colder than average. Because the sun is becoming less active, the study suggests that people in Northern Europe may have to brace for more frequent cold winters, despite global warming.

Scientists have long suspected a link between the sun’s operations and temperatures on Earth. During the Little Ice Age, which occurred between 1300 C.E. and 1850 C.E., Londoners celebrated winter frost fairs with horse races, football, and puppet plays—all performed on a frozen river Thames. This period partly overlapped with an era known as the Maunder Minimum, spanning from about 1645 to 1715, during which astronomers observed no sunspots—dark, relatively cool spots on the surface of the sun. Since then, the sun has picked up its activity, and scientists have had to wait until the solar cycle dipped again before they could show that this correlation was more than a coincidence.

In the current study, researchers used the world’s longest instrumental record of temperature: the Central England Temperature, recorded monthly in Lancaster, Bristol, and London since 1659. Although sunspots are typically used as a measure of solar activity, the team checked the temperatures against a model of variation in the sun’s magnetic field over time, which they felt was a better indicator of the sun’s total radiance. Long periods of cold winters in the United Kingdom coincided precisely with diminished solar activity, the team reports today in Environmental Research Letters.
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Low solar activity link to cold UK winters by Mark Kinver, BBC News
Thursday, April 15th 2010, 6:49 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
The UK and continental Europe could be gripped by more frequent cold winters in the future as a result of low solar activity, say researchers.

They identified a link between fewer sunspots and atmospheric conditions that "block" warm, westerly winds reaching Europe during winter months.

But they added that the phenomenon only affected a limited region and would not alter the overall global warming trend.

The findings appear in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

"By recent standards, we have just had what could be called a very cold winter and I wanted to see if this was just another coincidence or statistically robust," said lead author Mike Lockwood, professor of space environment physics at the University of Reading, UK.
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Could the frost fair be back in business? Experts predict our rivers could freeze once again during winter by Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail
Thursday, April 15th 2010, 10:23 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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Frozen in time: The Frost Fair on the Thames in 1841 was the last - but could lower temperatures see them make a comeback?

Britain's rivers could once more become home to 'frost fairs' as waterways freeze for months at a time, research suggests.

Experts have warned that the country should brace itself for a return to the bitterly cold winters last seen at the end of the 17th century - despite claims that global warming is causing Arctic ice to melt and temperatures to rise.

During the 'Little Ice Age' of the 1500s and 1600s, winters were so harsh that the Thames froze over for up to three months a year.
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Thursday, April 15th 2010, 10:18 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
IF YOU thought this winter was cold, be warned – temperatures are set to plummet in coming years, scientists predict.

Weather patterns linked to the strength of the sun could bring much colder winters.

The last time Britain saw these conditions was from 1645 to 1715 when frost fairs were held on the frozen surface of the Thames in central London.

The period, called the Maunder minimum by scientists, became known as the Little Ice Age. The climate phenomenon, which changes the direction of jet streams to bring bitter north-easterly winds from the Arctic and Russia, is called “blocking”. It causes temperatures to drop by up to one degree celsius.

A report published today in Environmental Research Letters, said: “Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century.
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Sun blamed for Europe’s colder winters
Wednesday, April 14th 2010, 11:06 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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 (in contrast to its normal 11-year cycle of sunspot highs and lows) and at this time 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 and colleagues used data from the Central England Temperature record. This provides monthly temperature data from several monitoring stations in central England all the way back to 1659 – the world's longest instrumental temperature record. The researchers first removed the estimated contribution from the warming recorded in the northern hemisphere as a whole over the past century – which is widely believed to have been caused by increasing levels of manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Hemispheric temperature records data back to 1850; to extend the analysis back to 1659 they used data from a number of different proxy sources, such as tree rings, isotope concentrations in stalagmites, sediment depths, lake heights and documentary evidence.

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