Related Links

For further information, please contact:
Andrew McLaughlin
University Press Office
01225 386 883
07966 341 357

» submit an item · an event


Press Release - 14 March 2006

Science week public lecture on the sun and climate change

Local people will be able to find out about the latest research into how changes on the surface of the sun might affect the weather on earth at a free public lecture at the University of Bath this week. (Wednesday 15 March 2006)

For thousands of years astronomers have studied the sun to try and work out how it influences the life on earth. Of particular interest have been sunspots, patches of darkness that appear on the surface of the sun, that many scientists believe could influence our climate.

It is only recently with the arrival of earth-orbiting satellites that scientists have been able to study the sun with any accuracy. Together with advanced computing, they are beginning to piece together the information they need to work out how changes on the surface of the sun might affect the weather systems.

“Since ancient times it has been speculated that changes in solar activity may influence the climate on earth,” said Professor Joanna Haigh from Imperial College London who will be giving the lecture.

“Over the years, many scientists have claimed that they have found evidence showing that there is a relationship between different solar and meteorological events.

“However, many of these studies do not stand rigorous statistical analysis and, until recently, the whole subject area was viewed with mistrust, if not derision, by the meteorological establishment.”

In the lecture, organised by the Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Bath, Professor Haigh will outline the chequered history of solar-climate studies, review the evidence for an influence of the sun on the lower atmosphere and discuss recent work that is helping to unravel some of the physical mechanisms involved.

The lecture will take place at 2.15 pm on Wednesday 15 March 2006 in lecture room 3 East 3.5. Tickets are free – no need to book, just turn up on the day.

National Science Week is taking place throughout the country from 10-19 March 2006, and gives people of all ages the chance to take part in science, engineering and technology through events, activities and lectures.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: