Here is the weather forecast for 2050

Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Gerald Fleming uses detailed analysis to predict Irish weather patterns

A technical rescue unit of the fire service drives through flood water in Mountmellick, Co Laois, after three rivers burst their banks and flooded dozens of homes. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

A technical rescue unit of the fire service drives through flood water in Mountmellick, Co Laois, after three rivers burst their banks and flooded dozens of homes. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

 

Meteorologist Gerald Fleming has stepped into the future to predict what the weather will be like in Ireland in 2050 – when the effects of climate change are likely to be hotting up our summers and making winters much wetter.

In that year, he said that if he was doing weather forecast on RTÉ television during the winter months of January, February and March, he would be talking about more Atlantic storms; more rain, more flooding of rivers, and frost would be unlikely.

Rising sea levels would mean increased risks of coastal flooding in Dublin; Arklow, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway, he added.

For summer months, he would be highlighting more frequently the risk of heat stress for older people due to higher temperatures; water shortages, drought in the south and east, reduced grass for beef and dairy farmers, but weather that would give rise to more reliable grain harvests.

The head of general forecasting at Met Éireann said his predictions were based on detailed analysis by colleagues of Irish weather patterns going back many decades.

Meteorologist Gerald Fleming in his studio at RTÉ in Donnybrook. File photograph: Cyril Byrne
Meteorologist Gerald Fleming in his studio at RTÉ in Donnybrook. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Speaking at a conference hosted by the ESB and the Institute of International and European Affairs on moving “towards a low carbon future” in Ireland, he said that natural variability of the weather made it difficult to determine if extreme weather events were caused by climate change.

So the scientific significance of dramatic increases in rainfall experienced in the winters of 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 could not be fully determined.

But given global warming and climate change trends, he believed that if he was going into a bookie’s office in 2100, the odds on these winters being described as statistical anomalies “might be the longer odds”.

Ireland was not immune to the vagaries of extreme weather, he added. A heatwave in 2003 on its doorstep in mainland Europe had killed upwards of 50,000 people. Already there was evidence of increased hospitalisations in Ireland when temperatures exceeded 27 degrees.

“In the extremes of weather, we see the effects of climate change most keenly,” Mr Fleming added.