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Displaying items by tag: Climate Change

Marine science and ocean climate research will be showcased to mark Science Week 2019 at science and technology festivals in Castlebar this coming Sunday 17 November, and Galway next Sunday 24 November.

The Marine Institute will host an interactive stand at the Mayo Science and Technology Open Day which will include a display of corals, mermaid’s purses and live fish species.

Children can identify invertebrates under the microscope and find out more about plastic waste in our oceans. There is also an opportunity to learn more about the research undertaken at the Marine Institute’s facility in Newport, including its involvement in the Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme.

Elsewhere, the Galway Science and Technology Festival next weekend will focus on climate action, understanding climate change, and how science and technology can help us create a positive climate impact.

At the Marine Institute stand visitors will learn about the work undertaken by the institute to observe and understand how our ocean is changing.

An Argo float, which collects important data on the temperature and salinity of the ocean, will be on display. There will also be video displays and interactive touch screens on the institute’s involvement in marine biodiversity research.

Among other attractions, visitors will have the chance to see a mini ROV, or remotely operated vehicle, as well as models of Ireland’s marine research vessels the RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, and how this infrastructure is used for fisheries and oceanographic research.

The Marine Institute stand will also host a competition to win a tour of the RV Celtic Explorer, or an Explorers Seashore Safari lesson for their primary school class.

The Mayo Science and Technology Festival will be held at GMIT Castlebar on Sunday 17 November from 11.30am to 6pm. Galway Science and Technology Festival will take place at the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway on Sunday 24 November from 10am to 6pm.

For more information on activities taking place this week for Science Week 2019, click HERE.

Published in Marine Science

Sixteen different sectors and activities are within the scope of the draft National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) launched yesterday (Tuesday 12 November).

And plans for a system of designated Strategic Marine Activity Zones among its main ambitions, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Commenting on the draft, Damien English, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, said: “Our ocean supports a diverse range of economic activities such as seafood, tourism, renewable ocean energy and a wide range of recreational opportunities.

“It contains areas with some of the most productive and diverse resources in the world. Its ecosystem and biodiversity make it an environmental and social treasure.

“As our marine and coastal areas experience more pressures from human activity it is critical that we provide a framework for what activities should and shouldn’t happen in our marine and coastal areas.”

The minister notes that a component of the draft NMPF is its policies relating to renewable energy and action on climate change.

He said: “Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. The Government’s Climate Action Plan, published in June, highlighted the critical role of marine planning for the delivery of offshore renewable energy. This document sets out the proposed forward-planning framework within which our renewable energy targets can be met.”

The Climate Action Plan commits to increasing the level of electricity generated from renewable sources to 70%, indicatively including at least 3.5GW of offshore renewable energy.

In addition, the draft NMPF reinforces the Government’s stated commitment to move away from oil combustion within heat and transport sectors towards renewables in the coming decade.

Minister English also launched the Government’s new Marine Planning Policy Statement, which was subject to public consultation this past summer and outlines the Government’s vision for the future development of the marine planning system.

It also sets out the overarching policies and principles the Government says it expects marine planning bodies, and other public bodies that engage with the marine planning system, to observe.

Just as the NMPF will be a parallel document to the National Planning Framework, the Marine Planning Policy Statement is a parallel document to the Planning Policy Statement, which underpins the operation of Ireland’s entire land-planning system.

The minister has invited the public and all interested parties to give their views on the draft framework.

“The document we’re publishing is the culmination of two years of engagement and dialogue with the public and stakeholders and across Government,” he said.

“The very constructive engagement with the NMPF Baseline Report, published last year, has had a major influence on this document. Whether you are in the energy sector, a fisherman, want to protect our marine environment, or live in a coastal community and are concerned about your area’s future, please have your say before February 28th.

“We want the finalised plan to be national in every sense — valued, owned and supported by all. Strong public input will help achieve that.”

The National Marine Planning Framework Consultation Draft is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

Following last night’s stark warning for Irish coastal cities and towns, RTÉ’s On Climate season of TV programmes continues tonight (Tuesday 12 November) with a look at how climate change, pollution and overfishing have directly affected biodiversity around Ireland’s coasts.

Presented by Philip Boucher Hayes, Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis includes footage off the Kerry coast that shows how much that part of the Atlantic has been reduced from an area once teeming with life to a virtual desert.

As the Irish Examiner reports, one of the main culprits is change in ocean temperature and chemical composition as waters absorb increased levels of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Underwater wildlife guide and filmmaker Vinnie Hyland also explains how the “drop-off” in marine life has revealed an increase in plastic pollution that poses a growing threat to those species that remain.

He says: “The depressing part is what we are doing to the marine life and because it is underwater, it is invisible.”

Hot Air: Ireland’s Climate Crisis broadcasts tonight at 9.30pm on RTÉ One. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Maritime TV
Tagged under

“The sea will come and take” Dublin and Cork by 2050 if nothing is done to deal with the consequences of climate change, Gerald Fleming will say in an RTÉ TV documentary tonight as The Irish Times reports.

The former weather presenter and head of forecasting at Met Éireann adds that the port towns of Drogheda, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford are also particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, increasingly severe weather, more frequent storm surges and extreme flooding.

Fleming explores the direct effects climate change has already had on the likes of Greenland, while he and researcher Cara Augustenborg will present computer models that show the damage that could be caused to Ireland in the not too distant future.

Will Ireland Survive 2050?, part of RTÉ’s new On Climate season, screens tonight (Monday 11 November) at 9.35pm on RTÉ One. Fleming tells more about the programme at RTE.ie.

Published in Maritime TV

The Irish Times writes, that a catastrophic storm during high tide will leave thousands of homes, businesses and landmark buildings in Dublin under water is inevitable over the coming decades, one of the country’s foremost climate change experts has warned.

Prof Peter Thorne said Ireland had been lucky to “dodge a bullet” until now during major storm events – because they have struck during low or neap tides – but it was only a matter of time until the elements combined for a devastating surge.

The Maynooth University academic, who was lead author on the fifth assessment report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and is aged 40, said he expected a major high tide flood event in his lifetime.

In the capital this would mean water from Dublin Bay surging into the Liffey while it was in full flow from the Wicklow mountains.

More on this story by clicking here. 

Published in Dublin Bay

Marine Minister Michael Creed, yesterday (Thursday 31 October) welcomed Government approval for the Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan to prepare for the impacts of climate disruption.

“I am very pleased the Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan has been approved as part of the Whole-of-Government approach adopted under Climate Action Plan 2019,” he said.

“We have taken a consistent approach to adaptation planning across the Department [of Agriculture, Food and the Marine] and have prepared a single plan covering the agriculture, forest and seafood sector.”

Th minister added: “In addition to reducing our emissions, we must ensure that our food production system is resilient and ready to adapt to future climate risk.”

Minister Creed described the plan approved today as “an important next step in our goal to build a strong and resilient sector that is well placed to take on the challenges and opportunities presented by our changing climate”.

The Adaptation Plan highlights a number of case studies identifying how the sector has and will continue to be impacted by changing weather patterns and steps towards building resilience.

The plan and its associated documents are available on the DAFM website HERE.

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

Seán Canney, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, has confirmed the policy principles that will underpin the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton’s announcement to cease new exploration for oil offshore Ireland.

This announcement, in an address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit on 23 September, came on foot of advice received from the Climate Change Advisory Council on what the future of oil and natural gas offshore exploration should be in the context of the recently published Climate Action Plan.

The council noted that the plan envisages a major shift away from oil combustion within heat and transport sectors towards renewables in the coming decade. Therefore, the council advised that the exploration for, and recovery of new offshore oil reserves, is not compatible with a low carbon transition.

The council further advised that the continued exploration for and extraction of new offshore natural gas reserves can be consistent with a low-carbon transition.

Gas is considered to be a transition fuel. This is particularly the case for Ireland, the Government says, where we do not have nuclear power, hydro power at scale or geo-thermal power, which other countries can use to provide back-up for wind and solar power.

The Government asserts that natural gas, as the lowest emitting fossil fuel, will provide the best electricity back up in 2030 when Ireland reaches 70% renewable electricity.

The minister will commission an Energy Sustainability and Security Review which will consider the role of fossil fuels during the transition. It will also consider the role that other technologies can play.

Minister Canney confirmed yesterday (Wednesday 30 October) the following principles in relation to petroleum exploration in the Irish Offshore:

  1. All future licencing rounds in the currently closed area offshore (Atlantic Margin, 80%) will be for natural gas only and not oil.
  2. All new licence applications in the currently open area (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, coastal areas, 20%) will be for natural gas only and not oil, applicable from the day of the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton’s announcement on 23 September.
  3. All applications and authorisations in place before the announcement was made will not be affected by the decision.

The minister has asked the department to prepare a policy statement which will set out:

  • The basis for the underpinning principles in the broader context of the Government’s Climate Action Plan;
  • The future development management framework for the exploration and production of gas, as a transition fuel, in Ireland’s offshore; and,
  • The role of natural gas in ensuring Ireland’s energy security.

“These principles underpin the Government’s decision for no new oil exploration offshore Ireland. They provide further clarity on the implementation of this decision and are consistent with the Climate Action Plan published by Government on 17 June 2019,” Minister Canney said.

“The Climate Action Plan puts Ireland on a trajectory to meet our 2030 target for carbon emissions, which is consistent with achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Minister Bruton added: “Over the next decade, we will rapidly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as we move to 70% renewables.

“The Government sought advice from the Climate Advisory Council on exploration in the context of this transition and has accepted that advice to ban new oil exploration off Irish coastal waters. Today we agreed the terms of that ban.”

Published in Coastal Notes

Minister of State Ciarán Cannon has announced €4 million in funding to the Ocean Initiative, which supports research for small island developing states in the area of coastal and marine management.

Speaking ahead of the Our Ocean Conference in Oslo, Norway last week, the Minister of State for Diaspora and International Development said: “Building on Ireland’s previous commitments, this year I am proud to commit €4 million to a newly established Ocean Initiative.

“This initiative will provide short-term capacity support to small island developing states (SIDS), and fund long-term collaborative research between Irish counterparts, private sector or academics, and SIDS in the area of coastal and marine management.”

The new initiative is part of Ireland’s recently launched Strategy for Partnership with SIDS and will help meet commitments made in A Better World, Ireland’s policy for international development, to address climate change and protect our marine environment.

Minister Cannon added: “This conference is a welcome opportunity for Ireland to engage with representatives of international governments, business, NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organisations in presenting commitments that will contribute to the protection and sustainable use of the world’s oceans.”

Published in Marine Science

A new review of the state of the seas off Northern Ireland and the UK reveals a ‘mixed picture’ in terms of biodiversity, as BBC News reports.

While the UK Government’s marine strategy assessment had good things to say about reduced contaminants in seawater and seafood caught around UK shores, marine litter remains a problem, as does the impact of climate change.

It also noted that seabird populations are particularly at risk, and that more studies were needed to evaluate the health of the likes of whales and dolphins.

“Fifty per cent of biodiversity in Northern Ireland is actually below the sea,” said scientific officer Helen Hanratty who helped put the report together.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Science

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
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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