Solar output drop 'unlikely' to offset global warming

New research claims falling solar output will not delay increases in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases, according to the Met Office.

The work, which saw the Met Office partner with the University of Reading, establishes the most likely changes in the sun's activity and looks at how this could affect near-surface temperatures on Earth.

It found the most likely outcome was the sun's output would fall up until 2100, but this would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.

This is not enough to offset predicted rise in global warming caused by greenhouse gases which the study says, using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) figures, will increase by 2.5C over the same period.

Met Office climate change detection scientist, Gareth Jones, said: "This research shows the most likely change in the sun's output will not have a big impact on global temperatures or do much to slow the warming we expect from greenhouse gases.

"It's important to note this study is based on a single climate model, rather than multiple models which would capture more of the uncertainties in the climate system."

The study also showed that if solar output reduced below that seen in the Maunder Minimum - a period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity was at its lowest observed level - the global temperature reduction would be 0.13C.

University of Reading professor, Mike Lockwood, added: "The 11-year solar cycle of waxing and waning sunspot numbers is perhaps the best known way the sun changes, but longer term changes in its brightness are more important for possible influences on climate."

Luke Walsh


energy manager


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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