Thursday 14 December 2017

Climate change isn't just an idea – it's here right now and we are woefully unprepared

High tides and heavy swell cause damage to Bundoran Lifeboat Station.
High tides and heavy swell cause damage to Bundoran Lifeboat Station.

Dr Kieran Hickey

Since the summer of 2009, Ireland has experienced virtually every type of weather disaster that our climate leaves us vulnerable to. There has been extensive river, estuarine and coastal flooding, extensive coastal erosion, extreme cold spells, a heatwave and drought, major storms, even a few damaging tornadoes.

No part of the country has been spared from some or all of the effects of these weather events.

New records have been set during this time period: 2009 produced the highest rainfall total for summer at Valentia Observatory, beating the previous record by 160mm, going back to 1892. That is astonishing as typically weather and climate records are broken by small margins, not by huge leaps. November 2009 produced not just the wettest November on record at many meteorological stations around Ireland but the wettest month ever recorded. This is true of Valentia Observatory going back to 1866 and the meteorological station at NUI Galway going back to 1881.

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