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Think July is warm? If trends continue, by 2040 this year will be 'considered a cool summer'

The warm temperatures and heatwaves experienced recently are expected to be even warmer in the coming years.

Summer temperatures are climbing at a rapid pace.
Summer temperatures are climbing at a rapid pace.
Image: Shutterstock/Alex Erwin

BY THE YEAR 2040, temperatures experienced during the recent spell of hot weather will be considered “a cool summer”, according to an Irish climate analysis centre.

Ireland has experienced extended periods of warm weather over the past number of years, particularly in 2018 when temperatures, at 32C, peaked to the highest since 2003.

The country has seen sporadic heatwaves during the summer months in other years such as 1995 and 2006, when temperatures also inched towards 32C.

Meanwhile, temperatures have soared one again across Europe in recent days with countries like Germany and Belgium breaking national records – by up to 3C in some parts.

In Paris, a record-breaking 42.6C was recorded, with reports that the number of drowings are up as people take a dip to cool off. 

London almost broke the national average yesterday when it climbed close to 38C – prompting London Underground users to bring fans on their commute.

Peter Thorne, Director at the Maynooth-based Irish Climate Analysis and Research Unit, explained that the latest trend in severe weather events suggests that by the year 2040, a summer like 2019 would be considered “a cool summer”. 

“By 2040 and 2050, the summer we’re experiencing now would be considered a cool summer,” Thorne explained to TheJournal.ie

“This is the expected pattern in response to the ongoing greenhouse gases, which has been known to occur for a long time, and there is the undisputable influence of humans on these events occurring. 

That pattern will continue, and what it means is we’re incrementally changing the odds in favour of rolling a six for a hot summer, if we think about it in terms of rolling a dice. 
“We’re increasingly likely to keep rolling a six,” he added. 

He explained that the average temperatures are likely to increase by around a quarter decade-on-decade, meaning by the end of the century the average temperatures will have increased several degrees. 

Record

The current hottest temperature ever recorded in Ireland was 33.3C at Kilkenny castle in June 1887.

It came close once again in July 2006 when a weather station in Roscommon registered 32.2C, which according to Thorne, will undoubtedly be broken in the next decade or two. 

“I would be surprised if the long-standing Irish national records were not beaten in the next one to two decades. 

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“In the coming decade, summers will see temperatures a quarter or so higher than normal but if we get a hot summer, and land dries out, that will feel higher again. 

“Records in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have been broken by more than one degree this year, and in some cases by three to four degrees, we’re not going to see this change.”

He said the continuous output of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, along with the burning of fossil fuels has resulted in an upward trend in summer temperatures. 

“Ultimately until we stop emitting greenhouse gases and using fossil fuels, we are on an upward line. We know how that upward path looks, we know how we’ll land, so in the short-term we can be confident the global mean temperature will increase. 

“If we continue to emit greenhouse gases and burn fossil fuels, we could see it being  anywhere between four and eight degrees warmer by the end of the century.

Last month, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded an average global temperature in June of 61.6F, or 16.4C – the highest for the month in the agency’s 140-year history. 

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