Global warming has resulted in Ireland’s climate becoming warmer and wetter, a new report starkly warns.
The Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann and the Marine Institute has published evidence of climate change in the report – The Status of Ireland’s Climate 2020.
Extreme weather, fires and flooding we see today are all impacts of climate change, the report says.
In Donegal, the impact has been recorded in the sea at Malin Head.
The sea surface temperature measured at Ireland’s most northerly point has been on average 0.47°C higher over the last 10 years than in the period 1981–2010.
The report estimates that half of the temperature increase seen can be attributed to climate change effects. Natural variability in sea surface temperature is to be expected because of the North Atlantic Oscillation.
The sea level around Ireland has risen by approximately 2–3mm per year since the early 1990s.
The report also shows that ocean acidification is increasing, as measurements in the surface waters of the Rockall Trough between 1991 and 2013 show decreasing pH levels.
The report finds that the annual average surface air temperature in Ireland has increased by over 0.9oC over the last 120 years, with a rise in temperature being observed in all seasons.
Annual precipitation was 6 per cent higher in the period 1989 to 2018, compared to the 30-year period 1961 to 1990.
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.
The report calls for further action to ensure the national climate observation system is fit for purpose for the coming decades.
Highlighting the importance of the Status of Ireland’s Climate report Eoin Moran, Director, 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. “