The frozen Rhine river close to Mainz during the winter of 1962/1963 (Photo: Frank Sirocko)
Professor Dr. Frank Sirocko (Photo: Carsten Costard / Frank Sirocko)
Some clever cross-referencing has helped an international team of researchers establish a link between low periods of solar activity and frosty European winters. The Sun's level of magnetic activity follows an 11-year cycle. Peaks in this cycle pose a threat to telecommunications and electricity networks and it's long been suspected that there's a correlation between the opposite end of the cycle and extreme winters in Europe. A lack of historical average temperature data makes it difficult to confirm this link, but scientists have filled the gap by studying the comings and goings of 19th Century riverboats on the Rhine.
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