Mini Ice Age for Britain?

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The Welsh Rugby team may be on top form at the moment but the weather certainly isn't!

I was in Bryngarw Country Park yesterday doing a charity walk organised by the Lions Club of Bridgend.

It was damp and windy but despite the drizzle it was pretty mild and a good number turned out with plenty of smiling faces.

You may have read recently that Britain is about to be plunged into a mini Ice Age for the first time in 300 years. Well don't panic! I don't think we are...but it makes a great headline.

It's all based on a link between sunspots and how these may affect pressure patterns, the position of the jet stream and temperature.

Cold winters and ultra violet emissions - an article on BBC News.

A dip in the 11 year sunspot cycle could be responsible for cold winters over parts of the US and Europe. However, this is only one of many factors such as La Nina in the Pacific Ocean which could influence our winter weather.

Sunspots move in cycles with highs and lows. We are now in a period of increasing solar activity compared to recent winters which would on its own suggest milder winters in the UK than of late.

Also the suggested mechanism does not alter global temperatures. It simply suggests an influence on circulation patterns such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) or the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and how they distribute heat around the globe, with some parts, e.g. Canada and southern Europe, tending to be warmer during an inactive sun.

Both the NAO and AO are connected and affect our weather patterns. If they go into a negative phase, which they did last winter, this suggests that the jet stream will move to the south of us.

High pressure is then likely to build over Scandinavia and Greenland with Britain exposed to very cold air from the Arctic or continental Europe.

It will be interesting to see how this winter pans out but I know some people will be keeping a close eye on the NAO and the AO and hoping for another cold winter with more snow and ice.


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