Great sunspots, a mini ice age may be about to grip Earth

Friday, 31 December, 2010

Cues to how the climate will behave in the future can be gleaned from studying what the Sun is doing, looking back to the last time it did whatever is now doing, and then studying weather patterns on Earth at that time also, according to Piers Corbyn, a British meteorologist who – contentiously – warns a mini ice age is imminent.

He seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time and serious business people – notably in farming – are starting to invest in his forecasts. In the eyes of many punters, he puts the taxpayer-funded Met Office to shame. How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun. He looks at the flow of particles from the Sun, and how they interact with the upper atmosphere, especially air currents such as the jet stream, and he looks at how the Moon and other factors influence those streaming particles. He takes a snapshot of what the Sun is doing at any given moment, and then he looks back at the record to see when it last did something similar. Then he checks what the weather was like on Earth at the time – and he makes a prophecy.

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