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Temperature Projections for Ireland by mid-century
23 July 2015

Temperature Projections for Ireland by mid-century


Researchers at Met Éireann have been involved in a collaborative study with University College Dublin and the Irish Centre for High-End Computing on high resolution temperature projections for Ireland by the middle of this century. The work has recently been published in the International Journal of Climatology: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1097-0088/earlyview

The study involved running hundreds of years of climate simulations at 4-7km resolution using the CCLM3, CCLM4 and WRF regional climate models. The models were used to dynamically downscale lower resolution global climate simulation data to a much finer, and hence more detailed, grid around Ireland – see figure 1(left) which shows the influence of resolution on how Ireland is represented in a climate model. A 4km grid allows the effects of mountains, coasts and other geographical features to be accounted for in the simulations which have important effects on meteorology/climate. The simulations were run under the SRES future emissions scenarios (A1B, A2, B2: http://sedac.ipcc-data.org/ddc/sres/) and the RCP forcing scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5: http://sedac.ipcc-data.org/ddc/ar5_scenario_process/RCPs.html).

Our results show that annual mean temperatures are projected to rise by between 0.4° C and 1.8°C above 1981-2000 levels by mid-century. On a seasonal basis, results differ by forcing scenario with the range summarised in figure 1(right). Future summers have the largest projected warming under RCP8.5, whereas winters are seen to warm the most under SRESs A1B and A2. Winter shows the greatest change in daily minimum temperature (indicating fewer cold nights and frost days), a pattern which is consistent across all scenarios/forcings. However, projections of temperature maximums are more uncertain.

Figure 1. (left) Different model resolutions over Ireland and Britain. Successively higher resolutions allow coastlines and topography to be modelled in greater detail, and smaller-scale atmospheric features to be resolved. (right) Seasonal mean temperature differences for mid-century relative to 1981-2000 where DJF=winter, MAM=spring, JJA=summer and SON=autumn.

 
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