Sweeney, John and Brereton, Tony and Byrne, Clare and Charlton, Rosemary and Emblow, Chris and Fealy, Rowan and Holden, Nicholas and Jones, Mike and Donnelly, Alison and Moore, Sonja and Purser, Patrick and Byrne, Ken and Farrell, Edward and Mayes, Eleanor and Minchin, Dan and Wilson, Jim and Wilson, John
Climate Change: Scenarios & Impacts for Ireland (2000-LS-5.2.1-M1) ISBN:1-84095-115-X.
Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford, Ireland.
The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2001) is the most
authoritative assessment of global climate change to date.
Produced by several hundred leading scientists in various
areas of climate studies, its principal conclusions include
• Global average temperature has increased by
0.6 ± 0.2°C since 1860 with accelerated warming
apparent in the latter decades of the 20th century. A
further increase of 1.5–6.0°C from 1990 to 2100 is
projected, depending on how emissions of
greenhouse gases increase over the period.
• The 20th century was the warmest of the last
millennium in the Northern Hemisphere, with the
1990s being the warmest decade and 1998 the
warmest year. Warming has been more pronounced
at night than during the day.
• Reductions in the extent of snow cover of 10% have
occurred in the past 40 years, with a widespread
retreat also of mountain glaciers outside the polar
regions. Sea-ice thickness in the Arctic has declined
by about 40% during late summer/early autumn,
though no comparable reduction has taken place in
winter. In the Antarctic, no similar trends have been
observed. One of the most serious impacts on global
sea level could result from a catastrophic failure of
grounded ice in West Antarctica. This is, however,
considered unlikely over the coming century.
• Global sea level has risen by 0.1–0.2 m over the past
century, an order of magnitude larger than the
average rate over the past three millennia. A rise of
approximately 0.5 m is considered likely during the
• Precipitation has increased over the land masses of
the temperate regions by 0.5–1.0% per decade.
Frequencies of more intense rainfall events appear to
be increasing also in the Northern Hemisphere. In
contrast, decreases in rainfall over the tropics have
been observed, though this trend has weakened in
recent years. More frequent warm-phase El Niño
events are occurring in the Pacific Basin.
Precipitation increases are projected, particularly for
winter, for middle and high latitudes in the Northern
Hemisphere and for Antarctica.
• No significant trends in the tropical cyclone
climatology have been detected.
These global trends have implications for the future
course of Ireland’s climate which it is judicious to
anticipate. This report presents an assessment of the
magnitude and likely impacts of climate change in
Ireland over the course of the current century. It
approaches this by establishing scenarios for future Irish
climate based on global climate model projections for the
middle and last quarter of the present century. These
projections are then used to assess probable impacts in
key sectors such as agriculture, forestry, water resources,
the coastal and marine environments and on biodiversity.
The purpose of the report is to firstly identify where
vulnerability to climate change exists in Ireland and what
adjustments are likely in the operation of environmental
systems in response to such changes. In some sectors, e.g.
agriculture, some new opportunities may arise. In other
instances, e.g. water resource management, long-term
planning strategies will be necessary to mitigate adverse
impacts. Long lead times for adjustment characterise
many sectors, e.g. forestry, and it is important to provide
as much advance warning of likely changes as possible to
enable adaptation to commence early. By anticipating
change it may be possible to minimise adverse impacts
and to maximise positive aspects of global climate
||This report has been prepared as part of the Environmental Research Technological Development
and Innovation Programme under the Productive Sector Operational Programme 2000-2006. The
programme is financed by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2000-2006. It
is administered on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Local Government by the
Environmental Protection Agency which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting
||Climate Change; Ireland; 2000-LS-5.2.1-M1; Environmental Protection Agency; EPA;
||Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
||01 Sep 2011 08:55
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