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More rainfall due to human induced climate change

Human induced climate change caused storm-related rainfall in Ireland and the UK last autumn and winter to be 20% heavier, than it otherwise would have been, and ten times more likely to occur.

This is one of the main conclusions of a new scientific study of the role played by climate change in what was the third wettest October to March period ever recorded in Ireland, and the second wettest in the UK.

The study, published by World Weather Attribution, was done by climate scientists at Met Éireann, the UK Met Office, and national meteorological services in the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.

The study highlights that in today’s climate, winds as strong as those experienced on the stormiest days last autumn and winter, should be expected once every four years. The amount of associated rain should be expected once every five years, it says.

However, rainfall for the entire period studied, so-called seasonal precipitation, was a once in 20-year experience.

Global temperatures have increased by 1.2C since pre-industrial times. This study attempts to determine how that has impacted on storminess in Ireland and the UK.

It says this global warming has resulted in a 30% increase in the average intensity of rainfall on stormy days.

It attributes two thirds of that amount, a 20% increase in rainfall intensity, specifically to the impact of human activity on the climate.

According to the scientists, this means the high intensity of rainfall experienced in Ireland and the UK during the most recent storm season, was made ten times more likely by the impact of humans.

The study concludes that comprehensive flood risk management is required in the UK and Ireland.

This needs to encompass legislative frameworks, strategic planning, and substantial funding.

Major UK cities are starting to integrate nature-based solutions into their designs. In Ireland, flood relief projects have been integrating nature-based solutions alongside traditional engineering solutions for over 20 years.

Both Met Éireann and the UK Met Office are continuously improving their impact-based weather forecasting mechanisms to facilitate the translation of warnings into action, in partnership with other government bodies to ensure their people’s safety.

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