‘At face value, the data seem incredibly important,’ Michael Lockwood, a space physicist at the University of Reading, told Nature.com.

‘If solar activity is out of phase with solar radiative forcing, it could change our understanding of how processes in the troposphere and stratosphere act to modulate Earth’s climate.’

‘The findings could prove very significant when it comes to understanding, and quantifying, natural climate fluctuations,’ he added.

‘But no matter how you look at it, the Sun’s influence on current climate change is at best a small natural add-on to man-made greenhouse warming.’