With winter rolling around, you probably can't help but notice it's been getting colder than before. According to a new study, the colder weather we're experiencing may be due to solar variation.
The UK Met Office has just published their findings in Nature Geoscience about how this can explain the coldness these past couple of winters. Particularly in the UK, northern Europe, and certain parts of the U.S., the link between decreasing solar radiation and colder climate seems to be strongest. According to these researchers, the sun is entering what is called a solar minimum in which solar activity is at its absolute lowest. The low UV output thus results in cold winters over the Northern hemisphere. During periods of higher UV, effects on climate were the opposite.
Using computerized models and climate pattern observations, the Met Office was able to make conclusive findings about how this specifically is working. With low UV activity, colder air flows over tropical regions. As this pattern recurs, air on the surface becomes increasingly cooler. This distributive behavior of wind and heat gives us a sense of what is happening with climate changes, but in the long run it explains very little about day to day weather fluctuations.
Therefore, the implications for this study may tell us more about changes over the years, rather than why it's pouring one day and perfect sunshine the next. As a whole, this study offers only one reason why we're experiencing much colder winters. The UK team says there are still many factors left to investigate in the future.