Researchers at Maynooth University have found that the Irish climate is at its wettest in over 300 years.
Analysis of historical rainfall statistics lead to the conclusion that in the decade from 2006 to 2015, the country experienced the highest rate of rainfall since since record keeping began in 1711.
In that decade an average annual rainfall figure of 1,990 millimetres was recorded, in stark contrast to the overall average of 1,080 millimetres over the entire 305 year span.
The research team was lead by Dr. Conor Murphy, a Senior Lecturer in Geography at Maynooth University. Dr. Murphy says the unprecedented rainfalls are most likely due to human-driven factors.
“The most recent decade was our wettest on record,” says Dr. Murphy. “When we look at the long-term context, we see a continuous rise in annual and winter rainfall.
“This is consistent with expectations of human-driven climate change.”
Much of the data used only existed thanks to the efforts of the United Kingdom’s Met Office in the 1970s. This data had not seen much use or publication previously, but by combining it with Ireland’s own rainfall figures a clearer picture emerged.
“We were able to merge that Met Office record with another, quality-assured dataset, which we recently compiled for Ireland for the period of 1850 to present.” explained Dr. Murphy.
“When combined, the derived record gives us an unprecedented picture of rainfall variations for every month from 1711 to 2016.”
The research also showed that when it comes to seasonal changes, Ireland’s winters are becoming much wetter than previously while its summers are getting drier.
The winters of 2015/2016 and 2013/2014 are the wettest and second wettest recorded since 1711 respectively, a statistic that is probably unsurprising to anyone affected by the severe flooding seen across the country in recent years.
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