Various media such as BBC, Reuters, Australia's ABC, The Daily Mail, The Independent, and others admit that the solar activity has an impact on the weather.
In particular, cold British winters in recent years mostly boil down to the lower solar activity we have experienced. More precisely, the fluctuations of the ultraviolet radiation are stronger than people used to think and a lower amount of the UV radiation influences the weather.
Those layperson's articles boil down to the following paper in Nature Geoscience:
Richard Black of BBC writes that the authors "emphasize" that this finding can have no consequences for "global warming", something that appears at the end of the Nature abstract as well. Wow. It's pretty impressive what preposterous propositions zealous and biased people are ready to write down in their effort to defend the indefensible (including their indefensible grants).
There exists absolutely no reason why such effects – which can lead to freezing winters at various places including the U.K. – would exactly average out once we calculate their impact on the global mean temperature and its changes within decades etc. One may hypothetically see a cancellation at one time scale but it won't extend to other timescales.
Quite on the contrary, the Milankovitch (astronomical) cycles show that e.g. the ability of ice sheets near the Arctic Circle to grow is actually essential for the evolution of the global mean temperature at longer time scales; this is exactly the reason why ice ages and interglacials have alternated; this is the algorithm to calculate why the global mean temperature was changing the way it was changing. Even if the heat is "just" being redistributed from one place to another, it's extremely important where the heat actually is if you want to know something about the Earth's future ability to accumulate heat.
But the "global mean temperature" is viewed as a holy cow that must be "decoupled" from everything else and controlled by the human sins and by the evils of industrial capitalism. This is a key dogma that dishonest pseudoscientists want to protect. This dogma is false but even if it were right, it could have no sensible implications for rational policymaking because for the British, the actual weather in Great Britain is more important than some abstract and partly ill-defined global mean temperature. Similar propositions hold for everyone else in this world, whether he is a human or an animal. The idea that the whole world should "team up" and take care of a "shared global mean temperature" is a preposterous hardcore collectivist conspiracy theory. Everyone who suggests that people should view the global mean temperature as an important thing is a hardcore Marxist.
But let me return to more sensible folks.
Some people say that the mechanism above should indicate that the 2011-2012 winter in the U.K. will be cold once again. I am a bit skeptical about this assertion, especially because the Sun began to be pretty active in recent months or a year. I may be shown wrong very quickly. Even ordinary meteorological methods predict another freezing winter in the U.K. Add all the solar-inspired comments about another mini-ice age...
The only thing we can be sure about is that snowfalls are NOT a thing of the past, in contrast with the media's claims in 2000.