Strategic planning is needed to address Ireland's climate challenges

Date released: Nov 27 2015


Strategic planning is needed to address Ireland’s climate challenges

The EPA has today published a new research report on high resolution regional climate modelling projections for Ireland.

The report reveals how key features of Ireland’s climate, including the average temperature, rainfall and the types of storms, are projected to change over the coming decades.  Key findings indicate that by the middle of this century:

  • Annual average temperatures are projected to increase by 1–1.7°C 
  • Hot days are projected to be warmer by between 0.7 and 2.6°C  
  • Rainfall is projected to decrease during spring and summer
  • Heavy rainfall events are projected to increase during winter and autumn
  • The frequency of storms is projected to decrease but the intensity of storms that occur is projected to increase
  • The energy content of the wind is projected to decrease during some seasons

The research was funded under the EPA research programme and was carried out at the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) and University College Dublin, in conjunction with Met Éireann. The approach used was to downscale outputs from Global Climate Models, used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report, to Ireland.     

Commenting on the report Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said, 

 “It important that we recognise the strategic and long term nature of the challenges Ireland faces in the coming decades.  We need to take effective and informed action.  Changes to our climate are largely outside our control while others are for us to address and manage. Adapting to climate change and reducing the greenhouse gases emissions that are contributing to the problem of climate change are two such actions. The provision of information and analysis is a first step in meeting these challenges.”       

Liam Campbell, Director of Met Éireann, welcomed the report and commented,

"Ireland is facing into a scenario of a changing climate.  We see the provision of local climate information as a key future requirement for planning and decision making. Met Éireann is working with national and international partners to make this information available as widely as possible."

The EPA research report No. 159 "Ensemble of regional climate model projections for Ireland" is available on the EPA website.

Notes to Editor:

EPA Research Report: "Ensemble of regional climate model projections for Ireland"
The lead researcher for this study is Dr Paul Nolan, UCD. The research was carried out at the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) and the Meteorology and Climate Centre, University College Dublin (UCD). The author worked in close collaboration with the Met Éireann Climate Department. The Regional Climate Model (RCM) simulations were run on the ICHEC supercomputers. Running such a large ensemble of high-resolution RCMs was a substantial computational task and required extensive use of the supercomputer systems over 3 to 4 years. This archive of data will be made available to the wider research community and general public through the EPA and ICHEC. 

Climate Ireland
The model outputs from this project will be made available to decision makers and the public via Climate Ireland, a web based information system being developed under another EPA supported project.  This information can be used to assess impacts, vulnerabilities and risk of future climate conditions and inform management options.

Climate Ireland is being developed as a one-stop web-based resource of climate and adaptation information with the specific purpose of creating awareness and facilitating decision makers at local and sectoral levels.  Climate Ireland aims to improve decision makers understanding of climate change and adaptation, provide decision-makers with the pre-requisite information for planning for climate change adaptation, and support adaptation decision making through the development of decision-support frameworks and tools.  Development of Climate Ireland is ongoing; the current system can be accessed through: