Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Wet, wet, wet...this is what summers will be like from now on

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 30: Fans in the rain, some holding umbrellas wait on the 1st hole tee during Day Three of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 30, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
East Belfast floods June 2012. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
East Belfast floods. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
Lisburn Road flooding, Belfast 2012
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims. Image submitted by Conor Dunn June 2012
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims back in June 2012
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims. Image submitted by Conor Dunn June 2012
East Belfast surfboard superhero rescues flood victims. Image submitted by Conor Dunn June 2012
East Belfast floods June 2012. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
East Belfast floods June 2012. Image submitted by Conor Dunn
View from Cutters towards the boat club in Stranmillis. Photo by Stephen McCamley June 2012
Dunmurry, June 2012
Belfast Lisburn Road. June 2012
NI FLOODS 22 JUNE 2012...Vehicles attempt to travel on the Glenkeen Road between Coleraine and Garvagh as heavy rain continues to fall as already over 2ft of water lies on the road.. Pic Steven McAuley/Kevin McAuley Photography Multimedia
NI FLOODS 22 JUNE 2012...Vehicles attempt to travel on the Glenkeen Road between Coleraine and Garvagh as heavy rain continues to fall as already over 2ft of water lies on the road.. Pic Steven McAuley/Kevin McAuley Photography Multimedia
NI FLOODS 22 JUNE 2012...Vehicles attempt to travel on the Glenkeen Road between Coleraine and Garvagh as heavy rain continues to fall as already over 2ft of water lies on the road.. Pic Steven McAuley/Kevin McAuley Photography Multimedia
NI FLOODS 22 JUNE 2012...Vehicles attempt to travel on the Glenkeen Road between Coleraine and Garvagh as heavy rain continues to fall as already over 2ft of water lies on the road.. Pic Steven McAuley/Kevin McAuley Photography Multimedia
Cars Struggling threw the floods as rain as Heavy Rain hits across Northern Ireland
Pacemaker Press 22/6/2012 Cars Struggling threw the floods as rain as Heavy Rain hits across Northern Ireland yesterday Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Police stranded in Belfast. June 2012
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Trossachs Drive, Belfast last night. Runners out jogging get caught in the floods
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Trossachs Drive, Belfast last night. Runners out jogging get caught in the floods
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Trossachs Drive, Belfast last night.
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Lambeg last night.
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Orpen Park, Finaghy last night
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Orpen Park, Finaghy last night
27.06.12. PICTURE BY DAVID FITZGERALDFlooding in Orpen Park, Finaghy last night
Lisburn Road flooding tonight...
Lisburn Road flooding tonight...

Get used to the summer wellies — Northern Ireland’s weather is getting wetter.

That’s the warning from the Met Office which says we are facing more torrential weather in the years ahead as climate change tightens its grip.

Professor Stephen Belcher, who heads up the Met Office Hadley Centre, yesterday briefed the Stormont environment committee on how our weather is set to change in the future.

He said Northern Ireland will experience an increasing average temperature, more rainfall and more serious flooding events. The weather expert also said we will just have to get used to wetter summers.

Rainfall is expected to increase here as climate change causes the atmosphere to hold more water.

On a wider geographical stage, there will be a trend towards hotter, drier summers, with very widespread, prolonged heatwaves increasing 20-fold. Climate change will double the odds of very hot summers, Professor Belcher said.

Those hot summers will, however, be interspersed with wetter summers, and the incidence of very wet winters will increase six-fold. This marks an overall trend towards extreme weather.

“If you take a run of 30 years you can expect more hot, dry summers, but we would expect about a third of them to still be wet,” Professor Belcher said.

“The headline for winters is warmer and wetter... but over a 30-year average you’d expect between a fifth and a quarter of winters to be very cold and dry.

“The broad message is warmer, drier summers, but unfortunately in the UK and in Northern Ireland we’re going to have to keep living with wetter summers.”

With the acceleration of climate change there are both opportunities and threats ahead, he said.

For example, one opportunity for Northern Ireland agriculture is the potential for an extended growing season and increase in crop yields. However, there is also a threat of more pests emerging.

“Another opportunity is that as our winters get warmer our heating demand reduces, bringing a reduction in fuel costs. But the cooling demand in summer could increase,” Professor Belcher said.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz