Ireland could be facing into decades of harsh winters, according to new research about to be published in Nature magazine.

The study undertaken by by Britain's Met Office, shows there has been a fall in the sun’s ultra violet emissions, which could cause winters in Europe to become even harsher.

Forecasters have predicted the potential return of a weather pattern called La Nina,  which has been linked to extreme weather around the world. It is brought on by a temperature drop in the Pacific Ocean and affects upper air currents. La Nina is thought to have been the cause of last year’s extreme weather conditions in Ireland.

This particular weather pattern is only supposed to return every three to five years, however scientists in have recorded temperatures that are below normal for this type of year.
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“The possibility of a return to La Nina during the Northern Hemisphere fall (of) 2011 has increased over the past month," the Climate Prediction Center forecast stated in July.

Ian Currie of the Meteorological Society said that "all the world's weather systems are connected".

"What is going on now in the Pacific can have repercussions later around the world," he said.

Based in Liverpool, James Madden of Exacta Weather, a long-range forecaster predicts Ireland will experience heavy snowfall in the coming months.

"It is likely that temperature and snowfall records will be broken," he told the Evening Herald.

"I initially expect temperatures to really struggle across many northern regions, including Scotland, Ireland (Northern Ireland in particular), north west England, and parts of Wales."