Kilkenny’s weather guru explains how global warming is changing local weather

Last week’s dramatic weather has everyone wondering, “What’s happening to our weather?”

Kilkenny’s local weather guru, Niall Dollard of kilkennyweather.com, is better placed than most to answer that question, having made his hobby of weatherwatching a major commitment over the past few years. He has set up a professional weather station in his city center garden where he monitors changing trends in Irish weather and reports his observations of the Kilkenny weather to Met Eireann.

The month of October that just ended was one of the wettest and mildest on record, as the real effects of global warming are increasingly felt in our daily lives. Niall says that as the climate warms there will inevitably be more humidity and therefore more rain.

He observes that the trend in recent years has been towards drier summers and wetter autumns, explaining, “Our summers over the past decade have tended to be drier and the autumn period, particularly in October now , becomes more humid”.

In the past December was the wettest month on the Irish weather calendar, now it is October. However, Niall also notes that the precipitation levels we are experiencing this year are ahead of previously established projections. He notes, “The only worrying thing, I guess, is that it’s happening almost a little faster than we…would have…it would have been predicted for the middle of the 21st century.”

The recent increase in rainfall in Kilkenny is in line with map forecasts for the south-east which have highlighted changing rainfall patterns in the region.

Kilkenny experienced one of the highest levels of rainfall on record in October. There have only been three occasions when rainfall in Kilkenny in a month has exceeded 200mm: the first in August 1997, the second in December 2015 (242mm) and the last in October 2022 (204mm).

Niall notes that it was a record year, with the UK experiencing the unusually high 40⁰C heatwave in the summer and France setting records for October temperatures at the end of the month. Bosnia has recorded a temperature of 29⁰ C in recent days, which is exceptional for autumn.

He thinks it’s a safe bet that 2022 will be the hottest year on record for Kilkenny and Ireland since records began. Rising sea temperatures in the fall also attract storms, which explains the prevalence of windy and stormy conditions in October.

The problems we face with sea and water level rise are now terrifyingly real. Niall says if or when the polar ice caps begin to melt, coastal flooding will be dramatic and irreversible. Quite simply, “The sea is not going to recede.” because there will be nowhere to go for all the melted ice cream.

He says, “Overall, we’re not tackling the problem fast enough.”

Recent revelations that there is “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) means action must be scaled up quickly to contain rising temperatures. global temperatures.

On a personal level, Niall observes that people are trying to make changes in terms of adopting electric vehicles, changing diets, alternative energy sources and better insulating their homes, but these are really governments and national agencies that must make the dramatic changes needed to contain methane. and CO2 emissions enough to limit global warming.

As for the immediate weather forecast, Niall says, “Friday should be a good day.” and next week will be better but the overall outlook remains uncertain. Westerly winds will push back the very heavy rains that have hit Ireland, but they will remain mostly wet, windy and mild.

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Teresa H. Sadler