According to the conclusions of a new study carried out by the researchers at the UK Met Office, the last two winters in Britain have apparently witnessed usually long spells of cold weather possibly because of the Sun’s 11-year cycle of solar activity.
As per the findings of the study, published in the Monday edition of the journal Nature Geoscience, the cold easterly winds blowing over the north part of Europe were a result of the fact that the flow of air in the upper atmosphere was influenced by an extraordinary spell of low solar activity.
Even though the researchers have stressed that a number of factors – including El Niño and the declining levels of sea ice – have seemingly played their part in influencing the cold winters in the last two years, they revealed that, going by the satellite measurements of UV radiation in the upper atmosphere, it is evident that low solar activity played a substantial role.
Despite the fact that the scientists have long been aware of the Sun’s 11-year cycle, during which radiation measured by sunspots on the surface first maxes out then falls, it still has been quite difficult for them to actually pin down a clear link between solar activity and the weather.
In an email to Reuters, lead researcher and climate scientist Sarah Ineson said that since UV levels provide “the exciting prospect of improved forecasts for winter conditions for months and even years ahead,” these forecasts play a substantial role in “long-term contingency planning.”