What Ireland’s wet and wild winter can tell us about global climate change…
Ireland is wet. 32,595 square miles of island surrounded by 41.08 million square miles of the very wet North Atlantic Ocean. And what happens to be a very warm and wet North Atlantic Ocean.
Heat and Water mean mild climates. Ireland’s climate , despite the misnomer of a damp cold temperament, is the definition of ‘mild’.
Winters, compared to say, balmy, southern Georgia, in the summer it is t shirts without the burn, and winters are jackets without the need for snowsuits.
This equates to more than a lack of snow plows and hurricane shutters: verdant fertile agricultural lands; a quiver full fishing industry; robust sporting community; lower incidents of natural, meteorological based, disasters; and a secure, dynamic environment.
So what happens if Ireland gets wetter…
and not only that :
This was the station’s wettest winter day since 2008.
A marine record was also broken in February when a new maximum wave of 25 metres was reported at Kinsale Energy Gas Platform on February 12th.
So Ireland is wet, and getting wetter by the year, and this has global significance. Let’s explore some of the causes and consequences…..
the processes, proofs, and problems :
Climate models suggest that lake-effect snowfalls are likely to increase over the next few decades. In the longer term, lake-effect snows are likely to decrease as temperatures continue to rise, with the precipitation then falling as rain
‘Lake Effect’ works for oceans as much for ‘Great Lakes’
most climate models predict that the atmospheric circulation slows down and the overturn of the atmosphere doesn’t occur as quickly, and thus what you end up with is a more wet but stagnant atmosphere.
- Ireland could be 2.5-4° C warmer in the later part of the 21st Century, compared to the 1961-1990 average.
- While rainfall is decreasing in southern regions, it is increasing in northern Europe.
- Climate change is projected to increase river flooding, particularly in northern Europe, as higher temperatures intensify the water cycle.
- The Arctic is warming faster than other regions. Record low sea ice was observed in the Arctic in 2007, 2011 and 2012, falling to roughly half the minimum extent seen in the 1980s.
- Melting of the Greenland ice sheet has doubled since the 1990s, losing an average of 250 billion tonnes of mass every year between 2005 and 2009.
- Glaciers in the Alps have lost approximately two thirds of their volume since 1850 and these trends are projected to continue.
- Sea levels are rising, raising the risk of coastal flooding during storm events
Met Éireann co-ordinated a major international study looking specifically at how climate change would alter the picture here. It draws on its own data sets collected over decades but also on expertise available from Ireland and abroad.
The results were used to deliver a detailed report, Irish Climate: The Road Ahead. It provides assessments of changes to mean air temperatures, wind and wave heights, but also the likely impact on river systems and the risk of flooding.
Some of the changes include warmer summer daytime temperatures, up by two degrees compared to the current mean, but also higher night-time winter temperatures, which will be two to three degrees higher than the current mean.
if you are a conservative - you will love this part:
The generally warmer climate will provide some benefits, the authors say. For example, it should help to reduce the health burden, particularly amongst the elderly, which sees numbers entering hospitals over the winter months soar.
It should also mean less expenditure on wintertime heating, the authors add.
and if you are sane - this should alarm you:
But this warm air carries a price. Warm air summer or winter holds more moisture and this will fall as precipitation, mainly rain. While summers will typically be up to 20 per cent drier compared to today’s normal, winters will see 14 per cent more precipitation.
The net result is more water filling the main river systems that, when overloaded, will trigger widespread flooding. Add to this an increased risk of exceptionally heavy downpours, and the chance of flooding soars.
because - a tiny, damp. island, in the middle of a large wet ocean cannot afford to get wetter, is exactly why it should be a bellwether for
“Wake the fuck up” finally not allowing politics to blind us to science.