GLOBAL warming has seen southern Europe endure hellish conditions this month, while it has been relatively moderate here, following the exceptionally warm weather seen in June.
The intense heat being seen in many part of the world lately shows the impact of global warming, while new figures from Met Éireann show that more locally temperatures are also on the way up.
This week saw Met Éireann release average figures for the 1991-2020 period.
They showed that the average temperature per year at Shannon during the period was 10.7 degrees. This compared to an average of 10.1 degrees for 1961-1990.
Summers are certainly warmer going by the data, with mean temperatures of 14.5, 16 and 15.8 degrees for June, July and August in the 1991-2020 period. This compared to equivalents of 14.0, 15.7 and 15.5 during 1961-1990.
On average there were 20.3 days of air frost and 70.9 days with ground frost during 1991-2020. This was down from 25.4 and 68.6 during 1961-1990.
Weather at Shannon has also got wetter; from 1961 to 1990 the average annual amount of rainfall was 926.8 milimetres. This rose to 1019.7 for 1991-2020.
There was an average of 72.2 days per annum with more than 5mm of rainfall in the 1991-2020 timeframe, greater than the figure of 66 in the 1961-1990 timeframe.
During 1961 to 1990 there was snow or sleet on an average of 10.9 days per annum, but in the most recent figures this was down to 5.9.
In a statement, Met Éireann said that Ireland is becoming a warmer place. “The key findings from Met Éireann’s analysis of the 1991-2020 climate averages highlight changes in Ireland’s climate over the past three decades. The most notable one being an overall increase in air temperature compared to the previous 30-year period with the average yearly air temperature for Ireland standing at 9.8°C (1991-2020). This represents an increase of 0.7°C. Furthermore, mean temperatures are higher across the country for all seasons in the most recent 30-year period.
“The research also shows that sunshine hours have increased by approximately 5% when compared to the 1961-1990 period, with May as the sunniest month of the year followed by June.
“Met Éireann’s analysis also reveals an increase in rainfall of approximately 7% over the last 30 years when compared to the 1961-1990 period, with annual average rainfall for Ireland at 1,288 mm (1991-2020). Regional variations are also evident, with the West and North of Ireland showing the greatest increases in annual rainfall.”
Met Éireann Climatologist Mary Curley, said: “The publication of Ireland’s most recent climate averages allows us to assess how Ireland’s current climate compares to the previous 30-year period. We know that the atmosphere is warming and what we’re seeing at the local and national scale fits the international picture.
“Importantly, the data provides information about typical climate conditions for a particular location and is a crucial benchmark for weather and climate conditions. This serves as an important resource for Government and relevant stakeholders to enable informed decision making to benefit society.”
She added: “While these averages give us an up-to-date baseline to compare our current and future weather to, it’s important to remember that weather patterns can vary significantly from year to year.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.