Heatwaves and flash floods to be norm by 2050

FLASH floods, prolonged heatwaves, severe droughts and warmer winters — that’s what climate change experts have forecast for Ireland in the coming decades.

The north and west will experience record rainfall, with longer heatwaves and droughts in the south and east.

The report by the Environment Protection Agency found:

* Average temperatures will rise by 1.4C-1.8C by 2050.

* By the same year winters will be about 10% wetter while summers will have between 12%-17% less rain.

* Summer reductions of rainfall between 20%-28% are projected for the southern and eastern coasts, increasing to 30%-40% by the 2080s.

* There will be a substantial drop in the number of frost days.

Soils will begin to dry out and catchment areas more dependent on groundwater — such as the Blackwater, Suir and Barrow rivers — appear most vulnerable to the shifting rainfall patterns.

Most worrying is the pace with which floods begin to hit the country. The EPA said 10-year floods could become three to seven-year events on most catchments by the 2050s, and the 50-year flood becomes a six to 35-year event almost everywhere.

The report, Climate Changes in Ireland: Refining the Impacts for Ireland, predicts that summer rainfall in the south and east will fall by up to 28% by 2050 and by up to 40% by 2080.

However, there are also likely to be higher rainfall levels during the winter months, increasing the risk of flooding in many areas, especially the midlands. “We are looking at changing extremes at both ends of the spectrum — more rain and more intense rainfall at one end and then heatwaves and drought at the other,” said report’s lead author Prof John Sweeney.

Climate changes would pose challenges for agriculture due to wetter winters and drier summers with many farmers likely to switch to different crops, he claimed.


Lifestyle

Italy is a volatile place as you probably know, not just the passions of its people but is a place of active volcanos and frequent earthquakes. One of the most devastating earthquakes in recent years was the one that struck the Amatrice region in 2016.Wine with Leslie Williams: Some tasty Italian selections

It’s confirmed, being a dog owner is good for you. Esther McCarthy spoke to four celebrities about pride in their pooches.Animal magnetism: Celebrities and their treasured pets

We recently began watching a new sitcom called, ‘The Kids Are Alright’. It follows an American family in the early seventies as they raise eight sons.Lindsay Woods: I’m a dormant individual by nature but my children are adrenaline junkies

Rosscarbery antiques fair offers plenty of variety, writes Des O’Sullivan.See the value of rare notes and diamonds

More From The Irish Examiner