London: Contrary to the belief that an increase in solar activity from the Sun heats up Earth too, scientists have found that it`s quite the opposite.
Based on a three-year snapshot of time between 2004 and 2007, scientists at the Imperial College London found that as solar activity waned at the end of one of the Sun`s 11-year cycles, the new data shows the amount of light and heat reaching the Earth rose rather than fell.
They also believe it may also be possible that during the next upturn of the cycle, when solar activity increases there might be a cooling effect at the Earth`s surface.
Long-term analysis suggests it actually provides further evidence that the heating of the planet is more than a natural, cyclical phenomenon.
Over the past century, overall solar activity has been increasing and should therefore cool the Earth, yet global temperatures have increased.
"These results are challenging what we thought we knew about the sun`s effect on our climate,” The Telegraph quoted Professor Joanna Haigh as saying.
"However, they only show us a snapshot of the sun`s activity and its behaviour over the three years of our study could be an anomaly,” she added.
Haigh added that further studies would be required to confirm the theory. She denied that it would fuel scepticism about climate change research.
“I think it doesn`t give comfort to the climate sceptics at all," she said. "It may suggest that we don`t know that much about the Sun. It casts no aspersions at all upon the climate models," she said.
The research is published in the journal Nature.