Global climate change has made Ireland “warmer and wetter”, according to a new report published this morning (Thursday, August 12).
Dubbed “The Status of Ireland’s Climate”, the report was published by the Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann and the Marine Institute.
This is the second comprehensive analysis of “essential” climate data collected in Ireland.
According to the three groups, the report confirms and updates findings from the 2012 report and details how global changes are being reflected in our atmosphere, oceans and our landscape.
The report was prepared by MaREI, University College Cork and funded by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Met Éireann (MÉ) and the Marine Institute (MI).
- The annual average surface air temperature in Ireland has increased by over 0.9° over the last 120 years, with a rise in temperature being observed in all seasons;
- Annual precipitation was 6% higher in the period 1989 to 2018, compared to the 30-year period 1961 to 1990;
- The concentration of the main climate driver: greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – measured in Ireland, continued to increase since 2012 with long-term implications for our climate.
- Satellite observations indicate that the sea level around Ireland has risen by approximately 2-3mm per year since the early 1990s;
- Measurements in the surface water to the west of Ireland indicate an increase in ocean acidity which is comparable to the rate of change in oceans around the world;
- The average sea surface temperature measured at Malin Head has been 0.47° higher over the last 10 years compared to the period 1981-2010.
- There is an increase in river flows across most of Ireland since the early 70s. However, there is evidence in recent years of an increase in potential drought conditions especially in the east;
- Land cover observations since 1990 show increases in the areas covered by artificial surfaces and forest whilst there is a decrease in wetland areas.
The report also identified that progress has been made in several areas of Ireland’s observation infrastructure, resourcing, analyses and co-ordination, since the 2012 climate status report.
However, it says that further action is needed to ensure the national climate observation system is fit for purpose for the coming decades.
Welcoming the publication of the report Laura Burke, EPA director general, said:
“Climate observations provide the basis for our understanding of the realities of climate change here in Ireland, in Europe, and globally.
“As a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Paris Agreement, Ireland has committed to carry out the range of climate observations outlined in this report.
“These data enable bodies such as the IPCC to carry out their analysis of global changes. Importantly, they are needed to inform effective responses to the changes that are happening here in Ireland.
“Today’s report brings together the evidence of the changes that have occurred across Ireland’s environment, from both long-term detailed measurements on our land and in our oceans and atmosphere and from linked data from satellite observations from programmes such as Copernicus.”
The scientific data was monitored and collated by Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Ireland and “represents Ireland’s long- standing contribution” to gather the vital monitoring data needed internationally.
Highlighting the importance of the Status of Ireland’s Climate report Eoin Moran, director of Met Éireann, said:
“As citizens in Ireland and around the world are now seeing the impacts of climate change, through evermore extreme weather events, fires and flooding etc; high-quality observations of the climate are crucial to help inform society’s response to the climate emergency.
“Scientific long-term monitoring of the climate underpins climate research and the development of climate services which support policy making and decision making in the face of the urgency of the climate crisis,” Moran added.