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02nd Jul 2024

Extreme summer temperatures to become more common in Ireland, study shows

Simon Kelly

Extreme temperatures Ireland

The study is aimed at policymakers to prepare for future extreme heat weather events.

A new study has found that the chances of extreme temperature events in Ireland are likely to become more common.

Researchers from the Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University found that the chances of temperatures of 33C hitting Ireland have increases from a 1 in 180-year event in 1942 to a 1 in 9-year event in 2020.

The study, which developed a new model to predict the frequency, magnitude and spatial extent of extreme summer temperature events in Ireland, also estimates that a temperature of more than 34C – a value not yet recorded in Ireland – changed from a 1 in 1,600-year event to a 1 in 28-year event between the same years.

The highest temperature recorded in 100 years in Ireland occurred last year in Pheonix Park, when the mercury reached 33.0C

Extreme summer temperatures to become more common in Ireland, study shows

The study was led by Professor Andrew Parnell and Dr Dáire Healy in collaboration with the university’s ICARUS Climate Research Centre and Professor Jonathan Tawn of Lancaster University.

Professor Parnell said the aim of the study is to predict extreme heat weather events in Ireland so there is time to prepare for them.

“What we have shown here is that the changes in extremes are much larger than the changes in the average, and are something we should be seriously concerned about,” said Prof Parnell.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Ireland was in 1887 in Kilkenny Castle, reaching 33.3C.

He said the findings underscored the urgency for societal adaptation to increasing extreme temperature events, which have profound implications for public health, agriculture, economic stability, and infrastructure resilience.

In recent years, Ireland has seen an increased fluctuation of summer temperatures, proven by last month marking the coldest June since 2015 with an average temperature of just over 13C.

This follows the warmest June on record in 2023, with average temperatures reaching 16.22 °C across the country.

Rainfall levels for last month were also below their usual average.

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