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Quieter activity on Sun may push Britain into a modern-day Little Ice Age

Horse racing on frozen rivers? Ice bowling? Activities last seen during Britain's Little Ice Age could once more be seen, researchers believe. Having just emerged from a bitterly cold winter the experts are warning that Britain could return to the mini ice-age at the end of the 17th century. This is despite claims that global warming is causing Arctic ice to melt and temperatures to rise. Back then the Thames played host to 'frost fairs' complete with puppet shows, horse races and ice bowling. Henry VIII is even said to have travelled all the way from central London to Greenwich by sleigh. The prediction of a return to an annual deep freeze follows research linking solar flares and other activity on the surface of the Sun with the weather across northern Europe. Scientists found that when the Sun is relatively calm, winters are harsh. The Sun passes through high and low phases of activity during an 11-year cycle, which affects how much radiation and particles stream towards Earth. Visible evidence of this cycle is provided by the dark sun spots on the Sun's surface.

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