Hot Irish Summers? Why Climate Change is Bad for the Emerald Isle

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It’s impossible to deny, in the last few years we’ve seen an uptick of summer temperatures even here in Ireland. From 31 degrees in July 2021 to an unheard of 27 degrees this September! Admittedly, the infamous Irish Summer has never been our most reliable friend. It’d be easy to feel a twinge of excitement at the thought of global warming. G’wan, bring some of that continental sun in the direction of our cloudy, rainy isle!

It’s Murphy’s law, the sunniest days always seem to fall on a workday. Then mid-July rolls around and we’re standing in a downpour pondering the feasibility of a BBQ under umbrellas. Worse yet, we’re finally on a foreign holiday only to hear the sun has finally peaked out back home! This is the Ireland many of us grew up with. The weather we all love to hate. Most of us would be overjoyed to have few more ‘fierce drying’ days. But do we really understand what climate change actually means? Why is global warming so bad?

What is Global Warming?

The NOAA’s 2020 Annual Climate Report tells us that temperature increases have doubled since 1981. Before this, they only rose about 0.08 degrees Celsius every ten years since 1880. But climate change is more than average temperatures. It’s what this means for our ecosystems and for our weather that’s important.

Since the beginning of the Holocene period, the earth has stayed between +1/-1 degrees Celsius. This allowed the Arctic and Antarctic poles to remain stable, and most importantly, frozen. In the grand scheme of things, we’ve experienced relatively mild weather events. While those few catastrophic natural disasters we do deal with, are thankfully far and few between. Such incredible climate stability has facilitated the reliable, seasonal weather across the globe that supports our modern civilisations. 

What many scientists now believe is that we’ve entered a new Anthropocene period. Basically, humans are now the main factor impacting global climate by placing too much pressure on the earth. From rapidly melting ice caps, increasing forest fires, and more severe weather events than ever before, one thing is undeniable. Our human activities are responsible for much more than just warmer summers. In reality, we’re losing the stability of climate we’ve relied upon as a species for over 10,000 years.

Human Pollutants: Co2 Emissions

Human-made pollutants, whether greenhouse gasses, radioactive waste materials, or the abundance of plastics, are having a devastating effect on our planet. Air pollutants directly kill millions each year. Meanwhile, aerosols also mask about 40% of the effects of global warming. So we’re already further gone than we’d care to admit! Even with this masking, carbon emissions are responsible for some of the most worrying ecological impacts we see today. If we don’t halt the warming of our atmosphere caused by trapped Co2 emissions soon, the earth will never recover. By then, there will be no point denying the dangers of climate change. It’ll already be too late. 

Climate Crisis: Irish Weather Forecast

As a country with a famously temperate climate, we certainly get a lot of rain. Our Irish weather has earned us the title “the Emerald Isle”. Unfortunately, our rain has become more unpredictable than as temperatures rise. Sudden, unexpected downpours soaking the washing you’d left out that morning. Flash flooding. Weather reporters risking life and limb to help us avoid ‘treacherous’ conditions. That’s what climate change means. The weather you’ve grown accustomed to (even expect) is slowly changing beyond recognition. The north and south of Ireland are already becoming prone to flooding. East and western regions have become drier than ever before. In the future, less predictable rain risks causing irreversible changes to our signature green landscape before this century is done.

What about the Irish summers ahead? Well, if temperatures keep rising, expect sunnier but less mild summers in the west and east, with less rain, high humidity, and sunny skies. In the South and North, however, thunderstorms, flooding, mist and rain would be a much safer bet.

Fight Climate Change to Save Irish Summer?

No one wants harsher Irish weather. The joy of living in Ireland is having a predictably mild, temperate climate. Getting used to longer, hotter and drier summers might seem fine in the short term. However, decreased arable land, more flooding, worse storms, and heavier winter snowfalls; the likes of which haven’t been seen in generations, might start to put a damper on day-to-day living, international travel, or even maintaining our livelihoods.

The COVID 19 pandemic narrowed our world down to a 5km radius for much of 2020 and 2021. But, once we put this public health crisis in the rearview mirror, we’ll still be facing down the barrel of global warming and increasingly less predictable weather. The climate crisis comes with risks to our way of life than not even last year’s notorious toilet roll wars nor the Lidl digger incident could prepare us for. That’s why we need to act now to save our Irish summers, winters, and everything in between.

At HubController, we’re dedicated to reducing carbon emissions on a community scale never seen before in Ireland. Join our HubCommunity today, who, together have already saved more than 9773 tonnes of carbon from polluting our atmosphere!