Monday 27 April 2009

EPA warns of rising temperatures

Ireland needs to get ready for longer heat waves and periods of drought, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned today.

Average temperatures in Ireland will rise by up to 1.8 degrees Celsius by 2050, according to a report published by the EPA today. The report predicts that summer and autumn will warm up faster than winter and spring, with the midlands and east warming more than coastal areas.

The report Climate Change in Ireland: Refining the Impacts for Ireland , also predicts that winter rainfall will increase by 10 per cent, while reductions in summer rainfall of 12 to 17 per cent are projected by 2050.

The largest winter rainfall increases are expected to take place in the midlands and by 2050, reductions in summer rainfall of between 20 and 28 per cent are projected for the southern and eastern coasts.

Longer heat waves and drought may also occur which will be especially important for eastern and southern parts of Ireland, the report states.

“We are looking at changes in extremes at both ends of the spectrum, more rain and more intense rainfall at one end and then heat waves and droughts at the other,” said Professor John Sweeney, the lead author of the report said. “However, considerable uncertainty still remains in several areas, particularly in relation to rainfall. A risk management type approach to adaptation will be required to take account of these uncertainties.”

Laura Burke of the EPA said further research was required to “reduce scientific uncertainties and increase confidence in projections for decisions on investment in infrastructure and development”.

The report concludes that there is an urgent need to adopt appropriate mitigation and adaptation responses to the risks posed by climate change, notwithstanding the challenges of recent economic events.

Irish Times

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