Britain faces a new mini-Ice Age with decades of severe Siberian winters and washout summers, an expert has warned.
Professor Mike Lockwood, of Reading University, said erratic and extreme weather patterns could be the norm in 20 years.
He said the risk of harsh winters and wet miserable summers has gone up to 25 to 30 per cent compared with 10 per cent a few years ago.
Weakening sunspot activity is to blame for a “major change” in the UK’s weather he told BBC TV.
He said: “The sun is ‘quietening’ really rapidly. We think it is actually quietening more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.
“So this is a major change. We think lower solar activity does seem to tie up with more cold winters in central Europe and the UK.”
Climatologist Dr Dennis Wheeler from Sunderland University, said: “When we have had periods where the sun has been quieter than usual we tend to get these much harsher winters.”