Belfast Telegraph

Ireland growing warmer and wetter

Ireland is getting warmer and wetter with temperatures up more than half a degree over the last 50 years.

Met Eireann's long term averages showed a 5% increase in rainfall between two 30 year periods, with a decade overlapping.

And the immediate forecast for the bank holiday weekend is not as bright - with sunshine in some places on Saturday while the rest of the country will be overcast and muggy. Rain is expected on Sunday and Monday.

Seamus Walsh, senior climatologist, warned the overall rises in temperature and rainfall could be a result of climate change.

"What it shows is that between the two periods, there has been a half degree Celsius increase in the mean temperature and approximately a 5% increase in annual rainfall across the country," he said.

"I wasn't surprised in the increase in temperature, but there's no denying it is a significant rise. It may well be it's a result of a general trend in global warming."

Met Eireann launched a new set of climate averages for the country for 1981 to 2010, 30 years of average temperatures and rainfall.

The mean average temperature was between 9 and 10 degrees Celsius, which rose to an average 18-20C in the summer.

Average annual rainfall is 1230mm, but the driest months are April to July when about 80mm fell. The data was compared with figures from 1961 and 1990 and included the 10 year overlap.

Mr Walsh said the 5% increase in rainfall was a surprise and admitted it was more difficult to determine why it happened. If we look in another 30 year period it may show something different. Really the jury is out on that one and really we need a lot more research to see if there's a trend or not."

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