Hot stuff . . . we're heating up faster than rest of world
IRELAND'S climate is hotting up twice as fast as anywhere else in the world. It's official.
Our location in the Atlantic and proximity to the Arctic is behind the astonishing disclosure yesterday.
Temperatures here are rising by 0.42 degrees every decade. Ireland's average temperature is steadily rising, with six of the 10 hottest years over the last century occurring since 1990.
The revelations were contained in a major new report by the country's leading climate change experts on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, published yesterday.
It also discovered the west, southwest and north coastal regions are becoming gradually wetter, as a result of more frequent and intense rainfall.
Ireland's average annual temperature increased by 0.7 degrees between 1890 and 2004 with highest rate of increase occurring since 1980, while there have been decreases or small increases in the south and east.
The authors say their analysis of Ireland's weather since records began is consistent with global climate change which has seen average temperatures increase by 0.74 degrees over the past 100 years with the rate of warming almost doubling over the last 50 years.
While the warmest year on record in Ireland was 1945, six of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1990. Reduction
There has also been a reduction in the number of frost days and a shortening of the frost season length.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, after witnessing "rainfall in buckets" during his recent holidays in Kerry, has also thrown his weight behind action on climate change.
Dr John Sweeney, of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Unit (ICARUS) at NUI Maynooth, said that our climate was warming up at twice the rate of the global average as the country had remained cooler far longer than elsewhere because of our geographical location vis a vis the Atlantic and the Arctic.
As a result Ireland was rapidly playing catchup in the global warming stakes at a time when the Arctic Sea ice was being decimated at the rate of 2.7pc per decade.
When days heated up at the same rate as nights Irish people would really feel the difference, he said at the launch of the report, "Key Meteorological Indicators of Climate Change in Ireland."
Dr Sweeney said it was now crystal clear that the changing climate was "driven by people and not by nature".
Irish people were experiencing warmer nights and fewer cold days.
Dr Sweeney warned that the population was booming in places which would have fewer water resources in future.
The crunch would come when difficulties arose in being able to meet the demand for water in the drier eastern and southern region.
Environment Minister John Gormley, who launched the report, said the scientific debate about whether climate change was linked to human emissions was now over.