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Global warming speeds up as sea levels rise and spring comes early

MORE rain is falling in Ireland, it's getting warmer and sea levels are on the rise because of global warming.

A major analysis of our climate shows the weather is changing at a more rapid pace than ever before due to emissions caused by agriculture, transport and industry.

And it says the growing season begins a week earlier today than in the 1970s, leading to an extension of the season. This is because of a rise in average spring temperatures.

The Status of Ireland's Climate 2012 report, published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says a structure needs to be put in place to co-ordinate research being conducted by various bodies including academics, the Marine Institute and Met Eireann.

Ireland should capitalise on its location and become a world leader in studying the effects of climate change, it says.

The report analysed a range of data and concluded that Ireland's climate is changing.

"This is consistent with regional and global trends, which display rapid changes in many aspects of climate over the last century and the first decade of this century," it says.

"The Earth's climate has always been changing. However, the rate of change over recent decades has been much higher than that for many tens of thousands of years. This rapid change is due to the enhanced greenhouse effect, caused by human activities."

However, it warns there is a number of gaps in knowledge and money has to be invested to ensure long-term measurements continue to be recorded.

The report helps point the way to ensuring Ireland reduces its dependency on fossil fuels and meets binding international targets to help stave off the worst effects of global warming.

EPA director general Laura Burke said the research published yesterday showed how the problem could be tackled.

"The EPA's climate change research programme has successfully focused resources to investigate priority issues related to Ireland's response to climate change," she said.

"This is a long-term challenge, which requires planning and action today. Science can inform the required responses, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation, and these reports show us a way forward."

Other research said technologies exist that would allow reductions of up to 95pc in the Irish energy sector by 2050, which would reduce emissions.

Irish Independent