Friday 28 April 2017

Blowing hot and cold - stormy 2016 was warmest in years

Kate Spila with son Adam and her nephew Daniel on Portmarnock Beach in Dublin. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Kate Spila with son Adam and her nephew Daniel on Portmarnock Beach in Dublin. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

Chai Brady

Stormy weather and record rainfall didn't stop 2016 from becoming one of the warmest years in over a century.

Last year was the 17th warmest year on record since 1900.

An American tourist climbs down from The Honeycomb at the Giant’s Causeway on December 23. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
An American tourist climbs down from The Honeycomb at the Giant’s Causeway on December 23. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The hottest day recorded was 30.4C on July 19 at Mount Dillon in Roscommon, and parts of the west of Ireland enjoyed an average rise in temperatures of 2C.

A Met Éireann spokesperson noted the temperature rise was a "very significant event".

Head of the climatology and observations division Séamus Walsh said: "We only get temperatures in excess of 30C once about every five or six years, so that was quite unusual."

With 2016 marked to break global temperature records, Ireland is set to follow the worldwide trend.

Click to view full size graphic
Click to view full size graphic

December temperatures increased all over Ireland by 1C, and Donegal was particularly mild, with temperatures 2C higher than normal.

The summer months were filled with blue skies and sunshine.

While we experienced long stretches of sun during the summer, there were also plenty of rain clouds.

The year got off to a bad start, with flooding and heavy rainfall across the country particularly affecting areas in the Shannon basin.

Portmarnock Beach in Dublin on the hottest day of the year on July 19. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Portmarnock Beach in Dublin on the hottest day of the year on July 19. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

"The beginning of last year of course saw, because there was severe weather in December 2015, a lot of flooding which continued into mid-January," said Mr Walsh.

In 2015, we had one of the wettest winters on record but 2016 saw one of the driest Decembers for the last 15 years.

Some of the iciest conditions recorded by Met Éireann were at the end of February and November. Markree in Sligo experienced the coldest air temperature at -7.3C on November 15, and was also the coldest place in Ireland for 2016.

However, grass temperatures fell to a frosty -10.4C in Oak Park in Carlow on February 24.

Heavy flooding in Bandon, Co Cork, last year. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Heavy flooding in Bandon, Co Cork, last year. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Storm Imogen brought the highest wind speeds, which peaked at 135kmh and were recorded at Sherkin Island, Cork.

Average wind speeds recorded at Fermoy in Cork and Mace Head in Galway were 10.7kmh and 26.7kmh respectively.

While there isn't expected to be an increase in the number of storms in the coming year, they may become more severe.

"We might get an increased severity in storms and an increased, more intense rainfall, probably in the winter season, with a decrease in the summer season.

"That's the kind of future we're looking at," said Mr Walsh.

Record

A rainfall record was broken in Kerry when 105.5mm fell on October 3, the wettest day for 150 years in the area.

The Valentia Observatory in Kerry also saw the highest annual total rainfall at 1616.9mm, which was 4pc more than its long-term average.

Dublin saw the least amount of rain at 704.1mm - slightly below the usual amount - and the capital's annual temperature rose by an average of 0.6C last year. However, Mace Head in Galway was the driest place in Ireland.

The highest mean temperature was a cool 11C across Ireland, while the lowest for the year was 9C.

Malin Head in Donegal was the sunniest place on June 2, with 15.8 hours of sunshine.

Dublin Airport recorded the largest amount of sunshine overall, at 1,412 hours.

Irish Independent

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