Last 10 years have been wettest since records began more than 300 years ago
THE years between 2006 to 2015 made up the wettest decade in more than 300 years, with average rainfall across the 10-year period almost double that experienced since 1711.
And a new record of Irish rainfall patterns says the continuous rise in annual and winter precipitation is consistent with human-induced climate change, linking the changes in our climatic system with the flooding of 2015/2016 and stormy winters over recent years.
Using UK and Irish data, senior geography lecturer at Maynooth University Dr Conor Murphy and colleagues found that average rainfall between 2006 and 2015 was 1,990mm per year.
This compares with an average across the three centuries of 1,080mm, and just 940mm between 1740 and 1749, the driest decade on record.
The record is based on historic observations and scientific measurements taken every month between 1711 and 2016, and while noting that confidence in the data prior to 1790 is “low”, earlier records present “compelling evidence” of “exceptionally” dry and wet winters.
“The most recent decade was our wettest on record, and when we look at the long-term context, we see a continuous rise in annual and winter rainfall,” Dr Murphy said.
“This is consistent with expectations of human driven climate change.
“The fact that we have such a long rainfall record for Ireland is thanks to the meticulous work of weather enthusiasts and meteorologists from the Ireland and the UK over hundreds of years. The record draws on the very earliest rainfall observations made in this region, together with weather diaries compiled during the 1700s.”