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An ‘Irish ocean observing system’ is among six research projects to receive €25 million in funding through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Infrastructure Programme.

Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys yesterday (21 October) announced the investment as part of Future Jobs Ireland that will be distributed among the six infrastructure projects “in areas of strategic priority across a variety of disciplines”.

Mr Michael Gillooly of the Marine Institute is lead on the EirOOS Irish Ocean Observing System, a component of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) that aims to further scientific and technical research capacity in key areas such as sea level science, ocean circulation and carbon sequestration, allowing us to better understand the connection between Ireland and the Atlantic.

Announcing the awards, Minister Humphreys said: “The quality of research being undertaken in Ireland today is testament to our world-class research community. This talent combined with the support provided through programmes like this one maintains our reputation as a great place to do business and work.

“The successful projects are at the cutting edge of innovation and are helping us to achieve our goal of preparing now for tomorrow's world.”

The SFI Research Infrastructure Programme aims to ensure Irish researchers have the capacity to apply for international funding opportunities, including Horizon 2020 funding calls.

Additionally, the programme eases inter-institutional sharing of national research infrastructure, especially for institutes of technology, as well as effective collaborations with industry.

Welcoming the investment in EirOOS, new Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly said: “Sustainably managing our oceans and understanding the impacts of ocean and climate change, requires increased observations on and within the ocean.

“These observations underpin research and advice to support policy makers in sustainably managing our oceans and also in developing adaptation and mitigation plans for climate change impacts.

“The investment in the EirOOS infrastructures will enable enhanced ocean observation and underpin forecasting and modelling in the marine area.”

Published in Marine Science

Dublin Bay’s sea level seems to be rising faster than forecast — and at twice the global average over the past two decades.

The Irish Times reports on this startling claim from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s (DLRCoCo) climate change action plan, which also notes that weather extremes are “likely to increase in their frequency and intensity”.

The report comes following one of Ireland’s hottest summers on record, itself just months after a first ever Status Red warning for snow was issued by Met Éireann.

Three Dublin local authorities launched their climate action plans on Monday (9 September), with DLRCoCo’s plan pledging to “prioritise nature-based flood defences where possible” over the next five years.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

Campaigners for the environment, Extinction Rebellion have targeted the Port of Cork in their latest protest.

According to EchoLive.ie, signs emblazoned with slogans such as "Port of CO2" and "Business as Usual??" were attached to the Port of Cork sign at Custom House Quay.

The group said the action was carried out in a non-violent and non-destructive way.

Extinction Rebellion is an environmental movement aiming to draw public and government attention to the need to tackle climate change.

In April and July, the group staged ‘die-in’ protests, on Oliver Plunkett Street and outside City Hall, where participants symbolically played dead to mimic an apocalypse.

The protest group is adamant that radical action must be taken to immediately halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2030.

Click here for more on the story.

Published in News Update

Young climate activist Greta Thunberg is taking to the high seas as she plans a zero-carbon journey from Europe to a UN climate summit in New York this September.

As RTÉ News reports, the 16-year-old Swede intends to cross the Atlantic on Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi’s Monaco-based 60ft Mono60, Malizia II, which has previously competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The foiling vessel is equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate energy at sea.

It will also bear the slogan ‘#Fridays for future’ inspired by Thunberg’s regular Friday protests against climate inaction at the Swedish parliament.

Thunberg refuses to fly due to the negative impact of commercial aviation on the environment.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

The Irish state is particularly aware of the threat climate change poses through sea level rises, given its island status, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.

As The Irish Times reports, Mr Coveney and Minister for the Marine Michael Creed are leading the Government’s participation in the 2019 SeaFest and Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Cork this week.

Ahead of the conference, Mr Coveney welcomed the leaders and ambassadors from more than 30 island states such as the Seychelles, Mauritius, Antigua, Haiti, Barbados, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

“As a small island, Ireland understands the threats climate change poses to our friends in the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic and Indian oceans. It threatens their very existence,” Mr Coveney said.

“Ireland strongly believes that we can only address this challenge of a generation if we take strong climate justice approach. Emphasising the needs and realities of those who have the most to lose, yet have done least to contribute to the problem, will always be a centerpiece of our approach.”

Mr Coveney said Ireland wants to give leadership on the important issues of protecting the seas and maritime environment and countering climate change.

For more on the conference at the Ocean Summit, click here.

Published in Island News

#MarineWildlife - A new project which aims to promote international action and co-operation to conserve vulnerable migratory fish species launched yesterday, Thursday 28 March.

The DiadES initiative will see 30 partners from different countries participate in this European project, with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) leading out on the project in Ireland.

The project launches as migratory fish and their habitats continue to come under pressure as a result of human activity and climate change.

It will focus on fish such as shads, lampreys, salmon, trout and mullet which are known as ‘diadromous’ fish as they migrate between fresh and salt waters to reproduce or feed.

The DiadES initiative intends to improve knowledge of the ecological, economic and cultural benefits offered by these migratory species while assessing the possibility of these species changing their locations due to climate change.

It will also examine the emergence of new interactions between fish territories as a result of these relocations.

In addition to collaboration across research and knowledge sharing between countries, the project will take a global multidisciplinary approach.

It will focus on several species across different geographical areas and involve researchers in the field of natural sciences and environmental economists as well as an experienced network of fish managers.

As part of the research, a transnational interactive atlas will be produced which will outline the current distribution of diadromous fish and how they help the ecosystem. This will forecast trends in the geographical distribution of various species and look at possible redistribution of some species as a result of climate change.

The programme will also design a platform for stakeholders to explore different management strategies.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, said: “Throughout their life cycle, diadromous fish provide ‘ecosystem services’. This means they provide food, regulate and support the ecosystem through the nutrient cycle and offer a recreational pursuit to local communities. All of these fish generate significant ecological, economic and cultural benefits for local communities across Europe.

“We are keen to play our role in assessing and enhancing the role these fish play while also assisting them as they navigate the effects of climate change which has resulted in a reduction in their distribution.”

The DiadES project is led by the French research institute Irstea and is financed by the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the value of €2.2 million.

Published in Angling

A policy-based plan that puts climate change front and centre and steers away from privatising coastal resources is what the country wants from the State’s National Marine Planning Framework, as The Irish Times reports.

Details have been released from the recently concluded consultation on the framework’s baseline report, released in September and branded as “a key part of the process of developing Ireland’s first marine spatial plan”.

The majority of responses (53%) were related to the marine environment, with 42% of submissions raising the prospect of the plan including measures to deal with climate change.

That news is timely with fears that coastal erosion poses a threat to hundreds of communities around Ireland.

Respondents also expressed preference for a policy-driven approach over specific zoning or a hybrid of the two, and many were adamant that the plan must retain Ireland’s marine resources in public hands.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#MarineScience - Marine Minister Minister Creed has welcomed the announcement of €2 million from the Marine Institute and the European Regional Development Fund for a major project on Atlantic climate change.

Led by Dr Gerard McCarthy of the ICARUS Climate Research Centre and Department of Geography at Maynooth University and guided by the goals of the Government’s national marine strategies, the international A4 Project marks a substantial investment in physical oceanography and climate change research in Ireland, and aims to improve understanding of the links between trends in Atlantic temperatures and climate change.

The project name A4 stands for aigéin (oceans), aeráid (climate) agus athrú Atlantaigh (Atlantic change).

“This funding being provided will enable Maynooth University to increase the research capacity to broaden Ireland's knowledge at a societal level, to better understand the ocean and climate change,” Minister Creed said.

“The research will contribute to national climate adaptation as well as international climate policy, supporting enhanced forecasting capabilities and contributing to adaptation and mitigation strategies and actions.

“The project is an important element underpinning implementation of the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 ‘Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services’. The strategy aims to provide world-leading regional and localised forecasting outputs and services that support Ireland’s challenge in responding to changes in our ocean and climate.”

Dr McCarthy added: “Over the next five years, this project will target three areas in which substantial progress can be made including ongoing Atlantic change, sea level rise, and decadal climate prediction.

“As a small island on the edge of a large ocean, Atlantic changes impact Ireland more than any other country. When record global surface temperatures were reached in 2015, Ireland had below average temperatures due to a cool Atlantic. The reasons why Irish temperatures bucked the trend in 2015 requires a better understanding of Ireland's place in a changing climate, and for this, we need to understand the changing Atlantic.

“This important project, which I am delighted to be leading, will greatly assist in our overall understanding of this complex and fascinating area. The Atlantic’s future will differ from the rest of the world in response to a changing climate. This is primarily because the Gulf Stream system of currents, which gives Ireland its mild climate, is predicted to weaken.

“The time is ripe to build upon the observations of Ireland’s ocean made by the Marine Institute over the past decades to understand Ireland’s place on the edge of the changing Atlantic.”

The project will be supported by Prof Peter Thorne, director of the ICARUS Climate Research Centre at Maynooth University with Prof Andrew Parnell, Dr Niamh Cahill, Dr Conor Murphy, and Dr Rowan Fealy at Maynooth University. Maynooth’s lead team will utilise approximately two-thirds of a total €2 million funding with the balance utilised by co-investigators in Trinity College Dublin led by Dr Robin Edwards.

The A4 Project’s international partners are the National Oceanography Centre, UK; Scottish Association for Marine Science, UK; University of Bremen, Germany; BSH, Germany; University of Hamburg, Germany; National Center for Atmospheric Research, USA; Met Office, UK; and Tufts University, USA.

Professor Ray O’Neill, vice president for innovation at Maynooth University, said: “This major funding award reflects the global significance of the climate science research being undertaken at the ICARUS Climate Research Centre at Maynooth University.

“Enabled by this funding, Gerard McCarthy’s expertise, and that of his national and international partners, will significantly advance understanding of how Ireland and the Atlantic region more broadly will be affected by climate change in the years ahead.”

The project team will use advanced geological techniques to reconstruct Ireland’s sea level, and combine these estimates with the modern National Tide Gauge Network managed by the Marine Institute, to better understand how sea levels have been changing around Ireland and the edges of the Atlantic.

The A4 Project will also bring to Ireland the emerging field of decadal climate prediction, which will lead to improved estimates of the future climate over the period of a decade by using the predictability of the ocean.

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change on the dangers of 1.5C warming highlighted many risks including that of sea level rise. “Every nation needs to understand its own vulnerabilities to sea level rise as the effects are not the same everywhere,” Dr McCarthy said.

This project is funded by the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute has welcomed Irish commitments announced at the recent Our Ocean Conference in Bali which include the provision of €25 million for a 50-metre modern research vessel to replace the RV Celtic Voyager.

“The vessel will provide critical national infrastructure to enable Ireland to address the considerable challenges of Brexit and the Common Fisheries Policy as well as climate-induced impacts on our oceans,” Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said.

In addition, the Marine Institute says it has committed €2 million towards a new five-year programme of ocean and climate research.

With 50% funding from the EU ERDF scheme, the Marine Institute is running a competitive funding call to support the establishment of a principal investigator-led research team in an Irish higher education iSnstitution.

“This is a key investment to build capacity in an area of research prioritised under the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy (2017-2021),” Dr Heffernan said.

“The research funded under this programme will deliver societally relevant knowledge aimed at better understanding the complex interactions between the ocean and climate change.”

Minister Creed also announced the continued commitment to the Environmental Educational module of Ireland’s Green Schools programme, and the continued support of the Clean Coasts programme.

“These programmes aim to build on Ireland’s marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity, further supporting the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme,” Dr Heffernan said.

Other announcements by Ireland include the provision of €10m to the local authority sector in Ireland to aid in the establishment of four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) and €1m over a five-year period (2019-2024) towards a new programme of ocean and climate research.

The Marine Institute also welcomes commitments announced by the European Commission which include €300 million for EU-funded initiatives for projects to tackle plastic pollution, make the ‘blue economy’ more sustainable and improve research and marine surveillance.

Published in Marine Science

#Jobs - This Thursday 16 November is the closing date for two post-doctoral research roles with the Marine Institute.

Based at the Marine Institute’s facility in Newport, Co Mayo, the WATexR (Climate JPI) Project requires a post-doc for a period of up to 34 months, who will have a central role in implementing the research project along with the project team.

Meanwhile, at the institute’s headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway, a data analyst is sought to work on the Co-development of Climate Services for Adaptation to Changing Marine Ecosystems (CoCliME) project.

Applications for both positions close at noon on Thursday 16 November.

Published in Jobs
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