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The Solar Weather Technique
In an interview with FirstScience, British astrophysicist and meteorologist Piers Corbyn explains why he doesn’t believe global warming is caused by the rising levels of carbon dioxide. He relies on the Sun to predict future weather using his revolutionary Solar Weather Technique.

FirstScience: "Is the Solar Weather Technique method more reliable than traditional forecasting?

Piers Corbyn: "Yes, it is more powerful and reliable than traditional methods. Traditional forecasts can only go up to ten days ahead for any meaningful forecast whereas the Solar Weather Technique can give detailed forecasts of extreme weather many months ahead. It is proven to be especially accurate for cold snaps and storms. Traditional forecasters believe that the Earth’s weather is primarily controlled by weather in the past, which is not true; there are external influences that come from the Sun, and are predictable."

FS: "Why does no one else use your method?"

PC: "Because it’s a secret! We’ve explained the general idea of how the technique works using predictable aspects of influence of solar activity on weather but not how to calculate them. We have studied hundreds of years of weather activity and corresponding solar activity such as solar flares and sunspots and have made our calculations. We attribute confidence levels to our forecasts and when these are high, as they often are for extreme events such as major storms, we are accurate over 85% of the time. Independent assessments by the University of Sunderland agree our long range forecasts of storms and cold spells are statistically significant with the chance of them being down to luck being only one in a thousand."

FS: "What can you tell us about the ‘Solar Weather Technique’?"

PC: "The ‘Solar Weather Technique’ is a procedure using predictable links between solar activity and weather. Particles are ejected from the Sun and these particles generate the changes in solar wind (the rush of particles from the Sun) which allows us to predict changes in the weather. There are two parallel approaches; the first one generates Weather Action Indicators. These are theoretical parameters which describe the Sun-Earth magnetic/particle weather state. We use these to identify when some predicted future state occured in the past. We then look back at weather patterns over the last one hundred years with a time resolution of a few days and use these parameters to find which weather systems are likely to occur in the future as a result of predicted solar activity. The second parallel approach are general predictions and does not rely directly on specific time windows of past data. The two approaches are combined to produce the long range forecast."

The amount of Solar activity changes

The Solar wind flows from the sun at up to 900km/s - this stream of particles may control our weather.

FS: "How far in advance can you predict the weather?"

PC: "We issue detailed forecasts (with time resolutions of a few days) up to eleven months into the future in seasonal batches. We can issue forecasts for certain events up to two years into the future."

FS: "Who hires you to predict weather?"

PC: "Many companies in different sectors, but for example, the energy and travel insurance industries hire us for long range and medium range forecasts. Through our predictions they can plan their production and advertising. Farming and agriculture industries mostly use our medium range forecasts (up to 14 days) or our 30 day ahead forecasts. To them these are invaluable tools. Retailers also use our services because weather triggers the sale of many products and deternines what people need and so assists in stock control and planning of anything from soft drinks to car batteries."

Hurricane Bonnie

Hurricane Bonnie over the USA - in a window predicted by the Solar Weather Technique six months before

FS: "What’s the most extreme weather you predicted recently?"

PC: "We predicted the storms in Southern Britain and Europe that occurred at Christmas in 1999 nine months in advance. We also predicted that September 1999 would be "exceptionally active" for Atlantic tropical storms and super-hurricane Floyd appered on cue."

FS: "Is global weather changing?"

PC: "Global weather is always changing! There is nothing new happening that couldn’t be reasonably explained by solar activity. Substantially bigger climate variations than recent changes have occured in the last few hundred or few thousand years due to natural causes. The surface temperatures here on Earth have increased in the last century but this is more closely correlated with increases in solar activity than with rising carbon dioxide levels made by man. The temperature could start to fall shortly or could rise for another thirty years depending on general changes in solar activity. I don’t think the long-term predictions of global warming using carbon dioxide theories mean anything."


Will studying changes in solar activity let us know when the next Ice-age is coming?

FS: "Can you predict when the next ice age will be?"

PC: "We don’t know enough at the moment but in principle it might be possible to predict mini ice ages which involve slow changes in solar activity over time scales of a few centuries. The prediction of a Large Ice Age involves other factors such as interstellar dust and the Earth’s orbital changes, over time scales of tens of thousands or millions of years. We might be able to develop super-long climate predictions in the future but this is some way off."

FS: "Do you predict any extreme weather for the near future?"

PC: "We forecast weather for the U.K, Europe and the Atlantic area. Our long range forecast issued 11 months ago stated that the U.K can expect major thunderstorms in the second week of may 2000; these were confirmed as were various other extreme events which are reported regularly in our Weather Action Bulletin (available in digital format via our web site). As far as the United States are concerned, we have made some predictions of Tropical storms and of summer temperatures and their implications for power consumption by air conditioning systems."


Piers Corbyn is the Managing Director and founder of Weather Action, an independent weather forecasting company. Weather Action utilises his Solar Weather Technique to provide some of the most accurate long range forecasts available. You can find out more about the Solar Weather Technique and get forecasts from their website.

Piers Corbyn has a first class degree in physics from Imperial College, London, an MSc in Astrophysics from Queen Mary College, London and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has undertaken research and advanced studies in Theoretical Physics, Solid State Physics, Cosmology, Galaxy Formation, Solar Physics, Meteorology and Long Range Weather Forecasting.

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First Science 2014