Global warming behind mild Irish winter, says Met Éireann
An exceptionally mild winter is proof that global warming is already affecting the weather in Ireland, Met Éireann has said.
Figures for December, January and February reveal that temperatures were up to 1.6 degrees above normal, making it the warmest winter this decade.
Some inland weather stations had only half the average number of frost days. There was a total of 16 and 21 air frosts at inland stations compared to a range of between 25 and 30 air frosts in these areas during an average winter. Rosslare, which experienced its mildest winter for 18 years, had no frost at all.
Forecaster Gerry Murphy said: "The overall trend has been since 1990 that the winters have got milder and there is nothing we can put it down to other than global warming.
"There is no evidence to suggest any other reason for it.
"Since around 1990, there has been an overall trend of milder winters. The significant aspect of warming that has occurred in Ireland has not been really massively warmer summers - although the summers have been quite warm - it's been the minimum temperatures during the winter have not been as low as previous winters.
"If you look back to when you were younger, you would see ice in puddles. You very rarely if ever see that now," he said.
The winter also saw exceptional rainfall with Dublin experiencing the wettest winter since 1995.
Wind speeds were also above normal, reflecting a particularly stormy period in December and January.
A recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency forecast that Ireland could expect milder and wetter winters over the next 50 years because of global warming with more extreme weather events.
The mild winter follows on from 2006 which was the warmest year for a decade in Ireland and the warmest since records began at several locations in the country.
The World Meterological Organisation estimates that the global temperatures has increased by almost half a degree since 1990.