New data from NASA's SORCE satellite is giving scientists the idea that variations in the level of ultraviolet emissions from the Sun could be the reason for recent bitterly cold spells in the past 3 winters. Allowing for the well documented 11 year cycle of solar activity, the level of variations in UV emissions has been found to be 5 times greater than had previously been understood, giving rise to the theory that it is these variations that may be responsible for the extremes of weather found in Europe and North America in recent years.
International scientists are becoming convinced that the UV measurements have a bearing on the activity of the jet stream, which, in turn, is responsible for the location and effect of the air flow from west to east. If colder air is brought to northern Europe then warmer air is likely to affect southern Europe and vice versa. In the past 3 years, northern Europe has been gripped by freezing weather for several weeks while the Mediterranean has basked in higher than average temperatures. Research is now underway to model future and historical data to determine what can be expected in the coming years.
If the theory proves to be correct the UK at least can expect less severe winters as the Sun's cycle moves into a period of stronger UV emissions.