HC Deb 21 March 1962 vol 656 cc370-1
12. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is examining the possibility that the 87,000-mile trail of sunspots observed on 26th February has been responsible for electrical disturbances in the upper atmosphere leading to the exceptionally violent gales and high tides in the northern hemisphere on 5th, 6th and 7th March; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Julian Amery)

It is known that sun-spots may be associated with electrical disturbances in the high atmosphere, but there is no certain evidence that recent gales and high tides were connected with such events.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Does my right hon. Friend recall that I put down a Question at the beginning of March asking him whether he expected very bad weather as a result of the sunspots at the end of February? In fact, there were very bad floods in the West Country and in Massachusetts in the first week of March. If it were established that there was a tie up between these sunspots and the bad weather it would be most useful. Farmers and people living on the coast would know when they could expect bad weather or high tides at certain times.

Mr. Amery

There have been more than the average number of severe gales this winter.

Mr. Manuel


Mr. Amery

Some occurred before and some since the recent burst of sun-spots, but we know of no reason for supposing that the events were directly connected with one another. These sun-spots release ultra-violet rays and corpuscular radiation, but as far as we know they have no effect on the weather.

Mr. Rankin

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if sunspots are associated with some of the recent election results?

Mr. Amery

Again, this is a question of saying what is post hoc ergo propter hoc.