Post link 24 June 2015, 0:38
UK weather: Britain facing 'mini Ice Age' as Tropical Storm Bill threatens heavy downpours

13:36, 23 JUNE 2015 BY STEPHEN WHITE mirror.co.uk

A Met Office-led study warns Britain faces years of unusually cold winters - as a heavy downpour is forecast for this coming weekend

http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article5933830.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Edinburgh.jpgFrost bites: A Met Office-led study warns that Britain faces years of unusually cold winters

Enjoy the summer, if we get one, as Britain faces a new ‘mini Ice Age’.

Climate experts are warning the amount of light and warmth released by the sun is nose-diving to levels “not seen for centuries”.

But first we need to get through Tropical Storm Bill - which threatens to unleash “tropical” downpours this weekend.

The storm - which battered the US claiming three lives - is set to hit the UK on Thursday with humid air pushing temperatures towards 28°C in places.

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Cloudy skies: Humid air is set to hit the UK on Thursday


But colliding with another stormy system, monsoon conditions could sweep in from the southwest bringing heavy showers.

Although parts of the country will enjoy a dry and fine few days, unsettled conditions will spread from the north towards the weekend.

After that, the big chill is being forecast, with experts fearing a repeat of the so-called ‘Maunder Minimum’ which triggered Arctic winter whiteouts and led to the River Thames freezing 300 years ago.

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Rain forecast: Tropical Storm Bill, seen here making landfall in Texas, threatens to unleash “tropical” downpours this weekend

The Met Office-led study warns although the effect will be offset by recent global warming, Britain faces years of unusually cold winters.

Long episodes of low solar activity were seen during the Maunder Minimum between 1645 and 1715 and the ‘Dalton Minimum’ from 1790 to 1830. Both periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures earning the title from scientists of “Little Ice Age".

The latest study, published in Nature Communications, found reduced solar activity will lead to an overall cooling of the Earth of 0.1°C. A much bigger cooling effect is expected for Britain, northern Europe and North America where thermometers could drop by 0.8°C.

Met Office scientist and lead author Sarah Ineson, said: “This research shows that the regional impacts of a grand solar minimum are likely to be larger than the global effect.

“This study shows that the sun isn’t going to save us from global warming, but it could have impacts at a regional level that should be factored in to decisions about adapting to climate change for the decades to come.”

Met Office long-range expert professor Adam Scaife said solar activity has already started to decline over the past few years. He said: “Although the effect on global temperatures is very small, the local effect is big enough to make a difference and we need to include that in our future climate projections.”

http://i4.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article5933831.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Seahman-harbor.jpgForce of nature: Winds, like these at Seahman harbor in County Durham, are expected this weekend in the north west

He said if “factors come together”, severe winters like the 2009/10 chiller which crippled Britain could become more frequent.

He warned early signals point towards a period of minimum solar activity by the middle of this century.

“There is a high chance that solar activity of the sun will decrease over the next few years,” he said. “There is a chance of a repeat of the Maunder Minimum period where sun spots completely vanish, there are already some signs of this.

The coldest winter ever recorded in 1684 occurred during the last Maunder Minimum period and saw the River Thames in London freeze over. Maunder Minimum is named after the English astronomer Edward Walter Maunder who noticed fewer sunspots were observed between 1645 and 1715.

Sunspot activity peaks and troughs with roughly an 11-year cycle, activity has been dipping over the past decade.

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Historical chiller: The frozen River Thames in 1814 is thought to have been part of the Dalton Minimum which ran from 1790 to 1830

The full force of Bill will be felt on Friday with warm tropical air pushing thermometers up into the weekend.

Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said: “Rainfall in the south could be moderate or heavy by the end of the week and tropical maritime air will see temperatures rise.

“The rainfall is not technically what we call ‘monsoon’, a European monsoon describes a change of airflow back to westerly at this time of year.”

The turbulent outlook comes after the summer solstice marked a wet and miserable start to the season.

June has seen below-average temperatures and grey skies with the forecast for the start of July not much better.

The Met Office’s 30-day outlooks states: “Rain will become persistent and perhaps heavy at times through the weekend, especially in the northwest where the strongest winds are likely to be."


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