Research from the Met Office has shed new light on a link between decadal solar variability and winter climate
in the UK, northern Europe and parts of America.
The study, carried out with Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, shows that low UV output from the sun can contribute to cold winters over parts of the northern hemisphere
, such as recently seen in the UK. Years of higher UV have the opposite effect.
Adam Scaife, one of the scientists involved in the research, said that while some studies have observed a link between solar variability and winter climate, our research establishes this as more than just coincidence
He said: "We've been able to reproduce a consistent climate pattern, confirm how it works, and quantify it using a computer model based on the laws of physics. 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."
New data from sensitive satellite equipment shows UV variability over the 11-year solar cycle may be much larger than previously thought
and has been key to the research.