Britain could be on the verge of a mini Ice Age as the Sun enters a cooler phase, the Met Office warned yesterday. The last big chill was felt hundreds of years ago when Frost Fairs were held on the frozen River Thames. However the Met Office said the new freeze will not be enough to cancel out the effects of global warming. Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which looks at long term forecasts, said there was a 15-20 per cent chance that we could match the temperatures last seen in 1645-1715 – sometimes called the Little Ice Age – when the River Thames froze over. –Colin Fernandez, Daily Mail, 24 June 2015
The sun is almost completely blank. The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. –Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc. 30 April 2015
Scientists at the University of Southampton predict that a cooling of the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius and may offer a “brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures,” according to their study. “The observations of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation [AMO] over the past ten years show that it is declining,” Dr. David Smeed, a co-author, said in a statement. Atlantic cooling can impact the climate for decades, according to researchers, on timescales from 20 to 30 years. This means cooler global temperatures and changing weather patterns could unfold over the next two to three decades, possibly extending the so-called “pause” in global warming. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 28 May 2015
Any reduction in global mean near-surface temperature due to a future decline in solar activity is likely to be a small fraction of projected anthropogenic warming. However, variability in ultraviolet solar irradiance is linked to modulation of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations, suggesting the potential for larger regional surface climate effects. Here, we explore possible impacts through two experiments designed to bracket uncertainty in ultraviolet irradiance in a scenario in which future solar activity decreases to Maunder Minimum-like conditions by 2050. Both experiments show regional structure in the wintertime response, resembling the North Atlantic Oscillation, with enhanced relative cooling over northern Eurasia and the eastern United States. For a high-end decline in solar ultraviolet irradiance, the impact on winter northern European surface temperatures over the late twenty-first century could be a significant fraction of the difference in climate change between plausible AR5 scenarios of greenhouse gas concentrations. Full paper (subscription required)
The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler. Full story
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