Global warming is causing Ireland’s climate to become “warmer and wetter”, according to a new report published by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
The analysis, conducted with Met Éireann and the Marine Institute, is the second study of essential climate data, which shows sea levels and temperatures are rising.
The report states Ireland’s average annual surface air temperature increased by over 0.9 degrees in the last 120 years, with increases noted across all seasons, while annual precipitation increased by 6 per cent between 1989-2018 compared to the proceeding 30 years.
Sea levels, monitored using satellites, haven increased by approximately 2-3mm each year since the early 1990s and the average sea surface temperature, measured at Malin Head, Co Donegal, has been 0.47 degrees higher over the last 10 years compared to 1981-2010 levels.
The report also noted an increase in river flows across much of the country since the early 1970s, however, evidence also suggested potential for drought conditions, particularly in the east.
A decline in wetlands, alongside an increase in areas covered by “artificial surfaces” since 1990 was also observed.
On a positive note, the report states progress has been made regarding Ireland’s observation infrastructure, resourcing, analyses and co-ordination since the last report in 2012, however, adds that “further action is needed to ensure the national climate observation system is fit for purpose for the coming decades”.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Met Éireann director, Eoin Moran said: “As citizen’s 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 policymaking and decision-making in the face of the urgency of the climate crisis.”