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Ireland's climate in the future

Warming of the climate is happening and it is extremely likely that man has been the main cause of global warming since the mid-20th century. Observations show that global average temperatures have increased by 0.85˚C since 1850 (IPCC, 2013).  The atmosphere and oceans are warming and sea levels are rising while the amount of snow and ice is falling. The impacts can be seen on all continents.

Research at national level has shown that changes in Ireland's climate are in line with global trends.Even if GHG emissions fall to levels required to stop the worst impacts of climate change some changes are still likely to occur. This is because the climate system is slow to react and some changes are already locked in. 

For Ireland, climate change impacts are expected to increase over the coming decades and could include the following;

  • sea level rise;
  • more intense storms and rainfall events;
  • increased likelihood and magnitude of river and coastal flooding;
  • water shortages in summer ;
  • increased risk of new pests and diseases
  • adverse impacts on water quality; and
  • changes in distribution and phenology (the timing of lifecycle events) of plant and animal species on land and in the oceans.