The sun’s activity is the main driver of weather on our planet. For 400 years an accurate sunspot record has been kept, allowing us to draw tentative patterns between the sun’s output and weather on Earth.
The UK’s ongoing drought and high temperatures of Summer 2018 has forecasters comparing it to 1976 — the last time an event like this happened.
The below chart perhaps offers an explanation.
1976 falls directly off the back of Solar Cycle 20, a weak cycle of relatively low solar output.
Looking at 2018, we see ourselves landing directly off the back of Solar Cycle 24, the next weak cycle since 20 — with cycles 21, 22 and 23 resulting in the peak of the modern maximum and the warm temperatures and predictable weather patterns that came with it.
Weather extremes are predictable when using solar activity as a barometer — the intense heat and storms of summer and the biting cold and snow drifts of winter. Humans are programmed to recognise cycles, and the sun’s output runs like clockwork.
All signs are pointing to a very harsh winter for 2018/19 for the entire Northern Hemisphere. After the UK’s intense heat of the summer of 1976 came the brutal winter of 1976/77.
Extremes in weather will become the norm again as we move on from the modern day maximum (21, 22 and 23) and plunge deeper into the next grand solar minimum.