Advertisement

New climate change report 'brings global picture home' to Ireland - EPA

Climate change means Ireland is becoming warmer and wetter, according to a new report. The study ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.58 12 Aug 2021


Share this article


New climate change report 'bri...

New climate change report 'brings global picture home' to Ireland - EPA

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.58 12 Aug 2021


Share this article


Climate change means Ireland is becoming warmer and wetter, according to a new report.

The study from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Met Éireann and the Marine Institute comes just days after a global report from the UN's IPCC.

This showed climate change is happening faster than originally predicted.

Advertisement

The EPA joint report says increases in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have been seen in Ireland, and "reflect the increasing global levels of these key drivers of global warming".

A rise in sea levels, increased ocean acidity and higher ocean temperatures are also observed in oceans and coastal areas.

While it says Ireland's ocean and terrestrial ecosystems are responding to these changes "resulting in changes in ocean species and a longer growing season on land."

People take advantage of bright, sunny weather beside the sea in Balbriggan in Dublin in February 2021. People take advantage of bright, sunny weather beside the sea in Balbriggan in Dublin in February 2021. Picture by: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

'The Status of Ireland's Climate' is the second analysis of essential climate data collected here.

It confirms and updates findings from a 2012 report - and details how global changes are being reflected in the atmosphere, oceans and landscape.

Frank McGovern is the EPA's chief climate scientist. He told Breakfast Briefing: "Ireland is changing in line with the global changes... we're getting wetter and warmer.

"What the report combines are data from an awful lot of observations around Ireland, in Ireland, in the atmosphere of Ireland.

"These paint a picture of a changing climate, and a changing climate has impacts... for the ecosystems, it also has impacts for us - the people who live here in this country".

'Different type of rainfall'

Mr McGovern says Ireland is quite close to the global average.

"We had the IPCC report published on Monday, that gave us the global picture, and this report brings that global picture home to Ireland.

"We've warmed in Ireland by about just under 1° Celsius - the IPCC reported last week that globally, the world has warned by just over 1°, so we're very close to the global average.

"The other key feature for what will be more impactful in a sense is rainfall: rainfall levels have increased in Ireland [by] just over 6% relative to the average between the '60s and '90s.

"What that means is we're getting wetter, and the type of rain that we're getting is also changed - we're getting more intense rainfall.

"As the atmosphere warms up, it can hold more moisture and when it rains it really rains".

Greenhouse gas levels are also rising, which he says are contributing to the overall picture.

"None of the signals are really good, things are going in the wrong direction - and until we actually stop the increase in green house gas levels, that warming will continue.

"That's the challenge that we all have to face, not just here in Ireland but in Europe and globally".

On an increase in ocean acidity, he says this can hurt marine life.

"That makes it more difficult for certain creatures - shellfish for instance - they don't like it if the oceans are becoming more acidic because their shells become a bit more brittle".

But he says there is a positive aspect to this report.

"The positive here is that we are actually getting the evidence together, so that we are better positioned to respond.

"Across the various State agencies that have worked on this report, we are collecting enough information to allow us to plan for the changes and to be able to make Ireland resilient to these impacts".

Key findings:

Atmosphere 

  • 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

Oceans

  • 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

Land

  • 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
  • It says further action is needed to ensure the national climate observation system is fit for purpose for the coming decades
  • This includes continued maintenance of existing climate monitoring programmes and infrastructure, the transition of climate observations to long-term sustainable programmes, and investigate potential to monitor essential climate variables not currently observed in Ireland
Main image: Members of the public out and about on the Clontarf seafront in Dublin, before the arrival of severe weather in February 2021. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Share this article


Read more about

Breakfast Briefing Climate Change Climate Change Report EPA Frank McGovern Global Average IPCC Marine Institute Met Eireann Ocean Acidity Rainfall Rise In Sea Levels The Status Of Ireland's Climate Warmer Wetter

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Off The Ball

Off The Ball

19:00-22:00

Share

Up next

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on