Irish heatwave reveals vulnerabilities we should not ignore
Remarkable spell of weather proves the urgent need to get serious on climate change
Heat extremes are one of the more concerning aspects of future climate change. Photograph: iStock
This year has been a year to remember weather wise, and we are only just past the halfway mark. Recent weeks have brought extreme temperatures and drought. Long-standing weather records have been threatened, while others have been broken. The hot and dry conditions are set to continue for at least the next 10 days. The next few weeks will tell if 2018 becomes synonymous with the perfect storm for water resources and agriculture. The question on many people’s minds include: “how rare are these conditions?” and “is this climate change?”
In Ireland, we have a rich history of weather observing that stretches back to the mid-1800s for many locations. At Maynooth University, together with colleagues at Met Éireann and Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, we have been working to stitch together and quality-assure those records. That work allows us to put this recent spell in context and it has indeed been remarkable to this point.