The sun is expected to enter a weaker cycle in the coming decades, which could partially offset global warming in future winters in northern Europe and the eastern United States, new research suggests.
The sun has been in a period of high activity for the past few decades. But a team of British and American scientists believe there is now a 15-20% chance of a weaker period of activity, known as a grand solar minimum, occurring in the next 40 years, the Guardian reported.
The sun entered a similar weak period from 1645-1715, known as the Maunder minimum, which had little impact on global climate, but was connected to a number of very cold winters in Europe.
Northern Europe and the eastern United States would experience a much stronger cooling effect than other areas because less ultraviolet solar energy at the top of the stratosphere would cause a chain reaction which would affect the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – a climate phenomenon which plays a key role in influencing winter weather on both sides of the Atlantic.
A changing NAO would also push storms south, bringing more rainfall to southern Europe and slightly lessening the drying trend the region is set to begin because of climate change.
Full article: Winter is Coming: Sun Cooling Means Temps in Europe, US to Fall (Sputnik News)