Most of Ireland experienced the warmest year on record during 2007 and also some of the most chaotic weather, forecasters revealed today.
Even though the summer was relatively cool, Met Eireann said it was the 14th year in a row that temperatures have risen.
The unpredictable weather began with a mild spring and continued as the once traditional April showers failed to arrive and thunderstorms disrupted June, July and August.
Met Eireann said 2007 was an exceptionally wet year especially over the eastern half of the country in the summer, where more than twice the normal rainfall recorded at some stations. Heavy thunderstorms were the main cause.
The following months were mild and many places experienced the driest Autumn for 30 years.
Despite the doom and gloom of showers and rain, all parts of the country enjoyed more sunshine than ever before and Malin Head, Co Donegal and Belmullet, Co Mayo had their sunniest year since 1968.
The annual weather review revealed Valentia Observatory and Malin Head stations had the warmest year since records began in 1892 and 1885.
Other areas with highest temperatures since records began in the mid-1950s included Belmullet, Rosslare, Co Wexford and Kilkenny while Birr, Co Offaly had the warmest year since 1949.
Forecasters said April was the warmest month of the year while September and November were also exceptionally warm. July was the only month which did not follow the same pattern as the rest of the year with temperatures falling below normal.
Rainfall was higher than normal across most of Leinster but well below normal on the southern and south-eastern coasts. Met Eireann also said rainfall distribution was very uneven.
The traditional April showers never materialised with some eastern areas recording less than 10mm in the month.
In its review Met Eireann also noted provisional figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which said average global temperatures for 2007 are expected to be the fifth highest since records began in 1880.
It also said that including 2007, seven of the eight warmest years ever have occurred since 2001, while the ten warmest years all occurred since 1997.
The NOAA said temperatures have risen between 0.6°C and 0.7°C since the start of the 20th century and the rate of increase since 1976 has been around three times faster than the trend over the century.