New Climate Projections for Ireland Released by ICHEC and Met Éireann

A groundbreaking new set of high-resolution, physically based and standardised climate projections for Ireland is now publicly available. The report documenting this project, which is called "TRANSLATE", was published last week. Launched in 2021 by Met Éireann, the TRANSLATE project addresses the critical need for accessible state-of-the-art climate information in Ireland. 

The TRANSLATE project integrates both national and international climate data, enhancing and localising these projections to suit Irish conditions. This initiative marks a significant advancement in providing a unified climate language for Ireland's stakeholders. 

The report is a collaborative effort led by climate researchers from University of Galway – Irish Centre for High End Computing, (ICHEC) - and University College Cork – SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine (MaREI) - supported by Met Éireann climatologists. TRANSLATE goes beyond traditional climate projections by incorporating detailed climate indices relevant to various sectors. These indices, embedded in risk-based decision-support tools, facilitate adaptation planning and infrastructure investment across Ireland. 

ICHEC's Role and Key Contributions 

The ICHEC team was primarily responsible for producing the “Standardised Climate Projections for Ireland.” The core of this product consists of a series of high-resolution maps of the island of Ireland showing how variables such as temperature and precipitation behave over time under different future forcing scenarios – along with related statistics of interest, such as return periods for rainfall events of different sizes. The high-resolution projections are based on global climate models downscaled using nested regional models. A significant contribution from ICHEC is the work of Dr Paul Nolan, Climate Science Programme Manager, on downscaling these projections. This work forms one of the two main input datasets for the TRANSLATE project.  

Dr Enda O'Brien, Senior GIS Computational Scientist at ICHEC, explains, “These climate projections for Ireland represent the best that can be achieved using the laws of physics, which are then further supplemented by statistical correction of known biases. They take account of the uncertainties regarding future emissions and the variety of different ways that the climate might respond to those emissions.” 


The figure above (Fig. 15) encapsulates the diversity of climates explored in TRANSLATE, providing a compact summary of projected scenarios. 

The standardised projections, in turn, are then used as the input that underpins a wide range of climate services, such as the unglamourous but important design of road drainage systems. 

Key takeaways from this report  

Climate projections indicate a warming trend for Ireland, with temperatures expected to rise across all greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The TRANSLATE dataset confirms that Ireland will likely experience fewer cold winter nights and up to a tenfold increase in the frequency of warm summer nights, (above 15°C), along with more frequent heatwaves by the end of the century.  Events that were never observed at all during the 20th century, such as summer temperatures above 30° C around the coast and over much of Northern Ireland, could happen almost anywhere in Ireland in the next few years, and could well become almost annual occurrences in the midlands later this century. 

Additionally, summer precipitation is projected to decrease, leading to drier summers, while winter precipitation is expected to increase, resulting in wetter winters and an overall annual increase in precipitation. 

For more information on TRANSLATE and to access the full report, visit here  

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