Advice given to forecasters in Met Éireann said Ireland needed to prepare itself for much heavier rainfall, storm surges and coastal flooding, as well as the growing “likelihood of extreme weather events”.
The climate guidance was sent to meteorologists in June amidst a summer of freak weather events globally including record-breaking temperatures, catastrophic flooding, and out-of-control forest fires.
The Met Éireann guidance said it was “beyond doubt” that human influence had warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and that temperatures here were up by approximately one degree Celsius since 1900.
It said this made extreme weather events more likely but that it was difficult to say how this would impact the frequency and intensity of storms in Ireland with further research needed.
The advisory said our climate had become significantly wetter with annual rainfall in the 1991 to 2020 period 7% higher than what was experienced between 1961 and 1990.
The document said: “Irish rainfall patterns are expected to change, with an increase in both dry periods and heavy rainfall events.”
It said there was “high confidence” that we could expect maximum rainfall rates to increase as the warmer atmosphere would carry more moisture.
The guidance added that a warmer atmosphere could be expected to carry 7% more moisture for every degree of warming with heavy rainfall events inevitably increasing in intensity.
It added: “Global sea level continues to rise. As a result, storm surge and coastal flooding risk around Irish coasts is expected to increase.”