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Climate change in Ireland‐ recent trends in temperature and precipitation

Laura McElwain, John Sweeney


This paper presents an assessment of indicators of climate change in Ireland over the past century. Trends are examined in order to determine the magnitude and direction of ongoing climate change. Although detection of a trend is difficult due to the influence of the North Atlantic Ocean, it is concluded that Irish climate is following similar trajectories to those predicted by global climate models. Climatic variables investigated included the key temperature and precipitation data series from the Irish synoptic station network. Analysis of the Irish mean temperature records indicates an increase similar to global trends, particularly with reference to early twentieth century wanning and, more importantly, rapid warming in the 1990s. Similarly, analysis of precipitation change support the findings of the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIPS) with evidence of a trend towards winter increases in the north west of the country and summer decreases in the south east. Secondary climate indicators such as frequency of 'hot' and 'cold' days were found to reveal more variable trends.

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