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Climate

Met Éireann says 2022 set to be Ireland's hottest year since records began

Provisional figures released by the forecaster today show that this year was the warmest since 1900.

MET ÉIREANN HAS said that 2022 was provisionally Ireland’s hottest year on record.

Figures published by the forecaster today show that with a predicted average temperature of just over 10.8°C, this year is set to be the hottest since 1900, ahead of the previous records set in 1945 and 2007.

This year is also the 12th consecutive year above normal temperature in Ireland, with 21 of the 22 years this century all being above normal.

A number of temperature records were also broken this year. On 18 July, the weather station in Dublin’s Phoenix Park recorded a temperature of 33°C - the highest ever recorded for that month and the highest ever recorded in Dublin.

The temperature record for August was also broken this year, when a temperature of 32.1°C was recorded in Durrow, Co Laois on 13 August. 

Met Éireann’s monthly report for August showed that temperatures were above average across Ireland and record daily temperatures for August were reported at 11 weather stations.

Along with Phoenix Park on 18 July, eight other weather stations also reported record temperatures on 18 July, including Casement Aerodrome in Dublin, which recorded a temperature of 31.9°C.

The lowest daily air temperature recorded was -8.8°C at Mount Dillon, Co Roscommon on 16 December.

The forecaster also said that this year was drier than average, with a lot of variability in rainfall across the months. January, July, August and December were unusually dry months, while February and October were unusually wet months.

Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry had its wettest autumn in 81 years, with 786.5 mm of rainfall, 167% of its normal.

The wettest day of the year was 3 September, with over 90% of 467 stations across the country recording more than 4.6mm of rainfall.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, climatologist and head of the climate services division at Met Éireann, Keith Lambkin, said that 2022 was a “particularly interesting year from a climate point of view”. 

“Globally we saw record breaking heat waves, droughts, flooding events, even the Antarctic ice sheet was at its all time lowest,” he said.

“A little closer to home then as well we see Europe recording its hottest summer ever, and the number crunching happening at the climate team in Met Éireann at the moment are showing that 2022, even with a few days still to come in, is looking likely is provisionally going to be the hottest year on record here in Ireland.

That’s a record series going back to 1900, so the last 123 years, the trend has been warming – we’ve known that – and it looks like this year is going to pip the record, taking over from 2007 when it was the last hottest spell here in Ireland.

Lambkin said the “very cold December” brought the average temperature down again, which made it “almost like a photo-finish with the previous hottest year on record here in Ireland”.

He said Ireland was above normal temperature for 18 consecutive months, which “made December feel so cold”.

“We’d almost acclimatised ourselves to these warmer temperatures beforehand, so it was quite a drop down to those colder December temperatures that we hadn’t seen in quite some time.”

Lambkin also said that he is not surprised by the record breaking temperatures, as warming “has been happening quite consistently over the last number of decades”.

“Even from a global perspective, the last eight years have been the eight warmest recorded on record. One of the reasons why it’s almost a little bit lower this year is that it’s been a very unusual ‘La Nina’ effect in the Pacific, which has this natural cooling effect on the atmosphere, so we expect to see those temperature increase even further into the future and that’s replicating its way down through European and local levels as well within Ireland.

“Different parts of the world will warm and cool at different rates, and what we’re seeing is Ireland typically warming at the same rate as the rest of the world, which gives us to some extent the benefit of hindsight because if we know how our systems have changed based on the current level of warming, and our climate projection models give us some insight on how the warming is likely to continue, well then we can use that benefit of hindsight to actually make important decisions now to help protect ourselves and our systems into the future.”

Met Éireann said the latest Irish climate change projections indicate further warming in the future, drier summers on average and an increased chance of heatwaves and periods of drought. The Irish summer of 2022 is broadly consistent with projected future trends. 

It said it’s essential that Ireland continues to adapt to ensure our national infrastructures and planning are best suited to both current and future warming.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement called for countries to try to limit global warming to 1.5°C and not to allow it to surpass 2°C.

Currently, the world is around 1.1°C warmer than pre-industrial times and is already experiencing impacts of the climate crisis such as heatwaves, droughts and melting ice sheets.

The scale of recent changes to the climate are “unprecedented” over hundreds and thousands of years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and it is “unequivocal” that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

Global surface temperatures are expected to exceed 1.5 and 2°C unless “deep reductions” are made to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

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