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More Winter Floods, Stress On Coastal Habitats: What Climate Change Means For Ireland

31st December 2015

#ClimateChange - Models to predict the future climate indicate that global temperatures will rise by an average of as much as 4.5C by the end of this century, bringing a rise in sea levels and changes to rainfall patterns.

And these changes in the weather are already being felt in Ireland, according to Met Éireann's head of climatology Séamus Walsh, who says that even slight shifts, such as an increase in the number of warm days over 20C, have "a knock-on effect on natural ecosystems" that have adapted to Ireland's climate.

"Fragile habitats in vulnerable upland, peatland and coastal areas will come under increasing stress," he adds, noting also a 5% increase in rainfall over the last three decades, more so in the West and North West.

"Climate projections for rainfall have greater uncertainty than for temperature," he explains. "They indicate that overall rainfall amounts in Ireland might decrease slightly, summers are likely to become drier while winters may be wetter, especially in the west and north."

There are also indications of an increase in the number of very wet days – days with rainfall over 20mm – which means that such projections, when applies to river flows, show "an increased risk of winter flooding, an increased risk of short duration ‘flash’ floods and to possible water shortages in summer months due to higher temperatures and lower rainfall.

"The rise in sea levels will make low lying coastal areas more prone to flooding, especially from storm surges," he adds.

Met Éireann has more on the story HERE.

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