Solar dimming may trigger freezing winters
SINGAPORE - Reuters
AP photoA cyclical drop in the sun’s radiation can trigger cold winters in parts of North America and Europe, scientists say, a finding that could improve long-range forecasts and help countries prepare for blizzards.
Scientists have known for a long time that the sun has an 11-year cycle during which radiation measured by sunspots on the surface reaches a peak then falls. But pinning down a clear link to weather has proved harder. “Our research confirms the observed link between solar variability and regional winter climate,” lead author Sarah Ineson of the UK Met Office said. The study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Monday.
Her team focused on data from the recent solar minimum during 2008-10, a period of unusual calm for the sun and intense winters in the United States and parts of Europe. The researchers found that a reduction in ultraviolet radiation from the sun can affect high-altitude wind patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, triggering cold winters