Fires burning on Howth during high temperatures in July 2021 Sasko Lazarov/
Global Warming

Ireland felt above-average temperatures in 2021 for the 11th year in a row

The forecaster has warned that hot weather last year was in line with global temperature rise driven by human-caused climate change.

TEMPERATURES IN IRELAND were above average in 2021 for the 11th consecutive year, according to Met Éireann.

In its annual climate statement, Met Éireann reports that average air temperatures were higher in 2021 than their long-term average everywhere across Ireland.

The forecaster has already warned that hot weather last year was in line with global temperature rise driven by human-caused climate change.

Temperatures and sunshine were above average in 2021, while rainfall was below average.

In Roscommon, Mount Dillon recorded the highest temperature of the year of 30.8 degrees Celsius on 21 July.

In contrast, on 9 January, Mullingar in Westmeath and Dunsany in Meath jointly recorded the year’s lowest air temperature of minus 8.2 degrees.

14 stations reported heatwaves between 16 and 25 July, including six stations where heatwaves lasted 10 consecutive days.

“Overall, the 2021 average shaded air temperature in Ireland is provisionally 10.51°C, which is 0.96°C above the 1961-1990 long-term average,” Met Éireann said.

“2021 is provisionally the 8th warmest year since 1900, and the 11th consecutive year above normal.

“Since the year 2000, only one year has been below normal, 2010 with 9.96°C (0.47°C below its LTA). The year 2007 remains Ireland’s warmest year on record at 10.77°C (1.22°C above LTA).”

Similarly, all recorded sunshine totals were above their long-term average.

The highest amount of sunshine was recorded in Johnston Castle in Wexford at 1,586.7 hours, while Malin Head in Donegal recorded the lowest at 1,237.6 hours.

The number of dull days ranged from two at Knock Airport in Mayo to 114 at both Valentia Observatory in Kerry and Belmullet in Mayo.

Frost and rainfall

Met Éireann records the number of days that each station records frost in the air and on the ground.

Days of ground and air frost ranged from 30 days and five days at Sherkin Island in Cork to 128 days and 55 days at Mount Dillon in Roscommon respectively.

Rainfall was below its long-term average at the majority of stations, including at Gurteen in Tipperary which recorded only 84% of its average level of rain (793.4mm).

Roche’s Point in Cork recorded 109% above average at 1,062mm.

It was the driest year since 2010 at Gurteen and Malin Head and the driest year since 2011 at Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Overall, there were 45 separate dry periods during 2021.

Climate change

2021 was Ireland’s warmest autumn, Met Éireann confirmed last month, observing a “continuing pattern of milder temperatures, with Ireland seeing provisionally both its warmest September and warmest autumn on record”.

Senior Climatologist Keith Lambkin said the temperature trends “are in line with the average temperature rise we are seeing around the world, due to human-caused climate change”.

“While future temperature projections vary depending on many factors, ‘all’ future projections suggest further warming. This warming, as well as associated defensive actions, is likely to affect everyone in some shape or form.”

Met Éireann has seen a rise in temperatures throughout the year over recent decades that can be linked to the changing global climate, as well as changes in extreme weather events like storms.

Pádraig Flattery, a Met Éireann meteorologist and climate researcher, told The Journal that storms are becoming more intense.

“We know that a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, so for every one degree the planet warms, we get 7% more moisture in the atmosphere, and this means the storms that do hit, hit harder, so we get more intense rainfall.”

Flattery said that these “aren’t inevitable changes” and that “it all depends on the action that we take over the next few years how severe the impacts will be in the future”.

“While we have experienced changes already and we’ve committed ourselves to a certain level of warming, we don’t have to see the worst impacts of climate change. We can act now.”

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