Friday 28 November 2014

Bad weather 'not due to climate change'

Cormac Murphy

Published 20/12/2013 | 02:30

18/12/13
Flooding down in Monkstown Co Dublin this evening
Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Flooding in Monkstown Co Dublin yesterday evening. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins

THE country's leading climatologist based at NUI Maynooth cautioned against blaming climate change for Wednesday night's storm.

Professor John Sweeney said the country had experienced a "very quiescent" winter so far but we were now under the influence of "very vigorous westerly air streams".

The academic added that there could be more storms in the coming days.

"It's not necessarily symptomatic of ongoing climate change. It's (due to) where the jet stream is located at the moment. It's over us and it's generating a sequence of depressions -- it's part and parcel of winter," Prof Sweeney said. Weather patterns in Ireland tend to be dominated by the jet stream, the meandering high-altitude river of air.

During the autumn and winter, it generally lies directly over Ireland and Britain, feeding in west to south-westerly winds off the Atlantic along with several low pressure systems.

Prof Sweeney said Ireland "dodged a bullet" a week or so ago when storms that affected England didn't cross Ireland.

Irish Independent

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