Research considers solar cooling period

20:22, May 13 2012
Solar Flare
A large <a target=_blank href="">solar flare</a> erupted on Wednesday.

German researchers considering a sudden drop in temperatures in Europe 2800 years ago and an increase in windiness are linking the changes to a 'solar minimum'.

Scientists at GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences analysed sediment in Lake Meerfelder Maar.

Dr Achim Brauer of the GFZ said the research showed there was an increase in humidity and windiness at the same time as the sustained reduction in solar activity - a solar minimum. 

He said the measurements of lake sediment allow precise dating of short-term climate changes.

The theory that increased solar activity affects weather on Earth is relatively new.

It was first noticed in the 1970s when the American astronomer Jack Eddy noticed a strong correlation between historic weather records and accounts of solar activity.

He noticed that a 'quiet' sun correlates with cold weather and a 'manic' phase means warmer conditions.

Read a critique of the original article by David Winter

* This article has been edited since the original post to remove a number of inaccuracies, including erroneous references to an ice age and global warming.