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Heavy rain in Ireland—what do the weather experts say?

Dublin: Climate Experts Warn of Ongoing Climate Changes and Rising Flood Risks in Ireland.

Meteorologists are forecasting significant climate changes for Ireland in the coming years, with recent tragic events in Carlingford, Newry, Middleton, Rosslare, and other areas cited as harbingers of what’s to come.

Recent studies highlight that Ireland is experiencing a relatively higher rate of climate change compared to five years ago, with the main risk being increased flooding due to global climate change driven by shifts in the Atlantic Ocean patterns.

As October came to a close, many regions in Ireland had already surpassed their annual average rainfall, with two of the wettest months still ahead. The first week of November has seen heavy rains across the entire country, compounding the issue.

It’s important to note that a sequence of weather patterns involving increased rainfall during late autumn and early winter is not uncommon in Ireland. Events leading to floods in 2002, 2009, and 2011, as well as Hurricane Ophelia in 2017, were all linked to warm Atlantic waters in October and November.

Recent storms like Agnes, Babette, and Kieran all originated in the Atlantic Ocean. Babette, in particular, followed a heat-enhanced track from south to north, gathering moisture as it traversed the warmer Bay of Biscay. In all instances, the characteristics of high-altitude jet streams played a role in intensifying precipitation levels.

A Weighty Issue: Escalating Flood Risks in Ireland Pose a Financial Challenge

The increasing flood risk necessitates a substantial financial commitment from Irish taxpayers to safeguard homes and businesses. The correlation between rising temperatures and the atmosphere’s ability to hold 7 percent more water per degree of temperature increase underscores the steady 7 percent rise in Ireland’s rainfall over the past three decades. Additionally, there has been a temperature increase of 0.7 degrees during the 1961–1990 period, with climate models projecting a similar warming trend for the next 30 years, resulting in heightened rainfall intensity. This phenomenon highlights the disproportionate impact a minor change in mean conditions can have on precipitation intensity.

While the government has allocated €1.3 billion for flood relief schemes from 2021 to 2030, this may fall short in protecting approximately 23,000 properties in communities currently under threat from river and coastal flooding.

Concerns have been raised following a recent report addressing potential alterations to the national coastline. The government’s report outlines a strategy to address land loss due to coastal erosion, flooding, and sea-level rise. It sounds a grave warning that coastal erosion could force the abandonment of tens of thousands of residential and commercial properties, supported by comprehensive studies.

Coastal Flooding and Erosion Threats in Ireland’s Climate Planning

In Ireland, where nearly 2 million people reside within a 5km radius of the coast, the looming risks of coastal flooding and erosion have become pivotal factors in shaping future strategies. While Ireland has had a history of experiencing floods and environmental challenges owing to its wet climate and extensive river networks, the recent and unpredicted alterations in these patterns are now assuming a more significant role. These changes are not only local concerns but also hold global implications in the collective effort to address the climate crisis, underscoring the urgent need for proactive solutions.

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