Feeds

Boffins confirm sunspot-weather link

Sunspots still don’t account for climate change

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A group of scientists led by German researcher Frank Sirocko of the Johannes Gutenberg University at Mainz has provided a long-term statistical study relating weather to the Sun’s 11-year cycle.

The study, carried out in conjunction with the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland, used records of freezes in the Rhine dating back to 1780 to correlate conditions on the river to the sunspot cycle.

The researchers chose the Rhine because, as they put it, freezing is an “on-off” event for the major waterway. “Either there is ice or there is no ice,” the professor of Sedimentology and Paleoclimatology explained.

Because the Rhine was used for river transport from the early 19th century through to the 20th, cargo docks maintained records of freezing events, the researchers say. These documents showed that ten of the 14 documented freezes occurred during periods of low sunspot activity. Further statistical analysis suggests that a low sunspot period leads to a 99 percent chance of a cold winter in Central Europe.

Sirocko says the study provides the first “statistically robust evidence that the succession of cold winters during the last 230 years in Central Europe has a common cause”.

However, the research doesn’t invalidate carbon-driven warming. Co-author of the study Stephan Pfahl explains that the sunspot cycle “does not impact hemispherically averaged temperatures, but only leads to regional temperature anomalies”.

Rather, solar activity is merely added to the list of climate-impacting variables, Sirocko said. The same study also suggests that even the colder “low-sunspot” winters are growing warmer, with the researchers pointing out that the Rhine hasn’t frozen over since 1963 (in spite of record-setting cold winters in 2010 and 2011).

The study is published in Geophysical Research Letters, and the announcement from the American Geophysical Union is here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?