Welcome to the new Met Éireann podcast page.
Below you can find the latest monthly English and Irish language podcasts, where we will be talking about all things weather and climate. Each podcast includes a monthly climate summary for Ireland and closes with a song from the Met Éireann choir – The Isobars.
You can listen and subscribe below or on your favourite podcast app.
You can contact the Podcast team at firstname.lastname@example.org or use #MetEireannPodcast on Twitter
Noel Fitzpatrick is a research meteorologist with Met Éireann. He recently returned to Ireland from Canada after completing a PhD in Atmospheric Science. There, Noel carried out research on the links between weather, climate, and the loss of the planet’s snow and ice. Noel began his career in meteorology with a masters at the University of Reading before joining Met Éireann as a meteorological officer, working as an aviation weather observer and in the maintenance of the Irish weather station network. Today, Noel is involved with the development of Met Éireann’s use of satellite data and high performance computing, with the goal of improving weather and climate services into the future.
“I’m passionate about science communication, and the responsibility researchers have to clearly communicate their work to a wide audience. I’m looking forward to our first episode on climate change, and hope it answers some questions people may have!”
Liz Walsh is an operational forecaster at Met Éireann. She began her career as a Meteorological Officer following completion of a Masters in Meteorology at UCD in 2006. She departed for New Zealand in 2009 to work at the National Meteorological Service in Wellington, where she eventually trained and worked as a forecaster. She returned to the Northern Hemisphere in 2014 and worked as a Meteorologist for an energy company in Reading in the UK before returning to the Met Éireann fold in August 2016.
“I had the immense honour of taking part in the hurricane and warning workshop at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida in February/March 2018 so I’m really looking forward to the hurricane podcast!
Is é Ferdia McCrann ár n-oifigeach Gaeilge. Tháinig sé go dtí Met Éireann sa bhlian 2006, tá cúlra aige san eolaíocht agus go háirithe eolaíocht ríomhaireachta agus matamaiticí. Chaith sé cheithre bhlian ag obair i réadlann Dairbhre i gcontae Chiarraí sular bhog sé go dtí an ceanncheathrú i Glasnaíon áit a bhfuil sé ina bhall den rannóg taighde. Déileálann sé le fiosruithe uaidh na meáin agus ón bpobal agus is féidir é a chloisteáil go rialta ar raidió na Gaeltachta ag freagairt ceisteanna ar gach cineál aimsir. Beidh an podchraoladh nua uaidh Met Éireann á chur i láthair aige.
With our guest this month, Seamus Walsh – Head of Climate and Observations at Met Éireann – we bring you through the fundamentals of climate change and discuss the latest climate projections for Ireland and the world, including how temperature, rainfall, storms and sea level will all change into the future.
We explore the greenhouse effect, how it works, and how emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane contribute to changing our climate.
We talk about measuring our carbon emissions and detail the relationship between increasing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere and increasing temperatures. We will also answer questions on how much global temperatures will rise by the end of this century, how much sea level will increase, and how soon Arctic summers may become ice-free.
Closer to home, we discuss how climate change will affect Ireland’s weather and climate, how much our temperatures will rise, if we will get more or less rainfall, and the severity of storms that we might experience in our future climate.
This episode also features the Met Éireann choir – The Isobars – who play us out with a beautiful rendition of Samhradh Samhradh. See below for more information on The Isobars.
In the podcast we mention the ‘Keeling curve’ which is a graphic showing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, measured since 1958.
See an image of the Keeling curve below.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations taken from the ice core record over the past 800,000 are shown here:
Note the almost vertical spike in CO2 concentrations in the past century.
Both these images were sourced from https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/
Further reading on the topics discussed in this episode can be found on the IPCC website and via the work of Irish Climate Scientist Paul Nolan.
IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change): https://www.ipcc.ch/
Paul Nolan’s Report:
Weather has a massive impact on day-to-day life in Ireland. However, what drives the weather and climate we experience in this country? In this episode, we will be answering the question ‘What Causes Ireland’s Weather?’ with Met Éireann meteorologist and forecaster Pat Clarke.
Firstly, why do we have weather at all?
We will start with the underlying global processes and then narrow it down to Ireland.
How does the shape, rotation and axis of the earth affect our climate? What is ‘air pressure’? Why do rainforests and deserts appear in similar latitude bands around the globe? Why does Ireland often have low pressure while other areas have high pressure?
How does what’s happening in the atmosphere five to ten kilometres above our heads affect our weather at the surface? What is the jet stream and why is it stronger in the winter than the summer? What is the polar front and what side of it do we want to be on? Why do we generally get our most severe storms in the autumn and winter.
Ireland is at the same latitude as Edmonton in Canada, Alaska in the U.S. and Moscow, but why do we not have similar climate extremes? For example, Edmonton in Canada is at the same latitude as Dublin, however Edmonton’s average minimum temperature in January is -15°C while in Dublin it is +2.4°C.
How does the Atlantic Ocean moderate our climate?
What is an airmass? How does it form and how much does the airmass currently over us determine the kind of weather we can expect?
We close out the episode with the Met Éireann choir – The Isobars – and their rendition of Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head.
The image above is from a flight tracking website of a hurricane hunter aircraft approaching the eye of the storm. In October 2018, all aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico were actively avoiding the intensifying Hurricane Michael. All bar one: a NOAA Hurricane Hunter. In this flight tracking image, the Hurricane Hunter has just past straight through the eye of the storm, taking essential measurements to help forecasters, and to keep people on the ground informed and safe (image from flightaware.com).
Below is a Youtube video referenced by our guest John in the podcast. It shows footage taken in the eye of the same hurricane (Michael):
Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) is essentially how we use computers to help forecast the weather. Today some of the most powerful super-computers in the world are dedicated to weather forecasting and climate applications. In this episode, Dr. Alan Hally from the Research Division in Met Éireann joins Liz and Noel to talk about the concepts behind using computers to forecast the weather, how accurate they have become and what the limiting factors are in terms of scale and forecast duration. Can they tell us if we will get a white Christmas this year?
In addition, what is the connection between NWP and Jurassic Park? We get an explanation from Jeff Goldblum on 25 minutes.
We also hear about Met Éireann’s ‘Harmonie Arome’ weather forecasting model and its three million lines of code, and Ireland’s international collaborations in super-computing and forecasting technology. We discuss the ‘butterfly effect’ and how chaos in the atmosphere affects our forecasts, and talk about ensemble prediction systems and how they are changing our perception and delivery of weather forecasts.
Paul Moore from our Climate Division brings us the stats for summer 2019 and we discuss how and why summer 2019 differed from summer 2018.
As always, the Met Éireann choir – The Isobars – close out the episode. This month they perform their rendition of The Swimming Song.
The story of Valentia Observatory in Co. Kerry begins with a shipwreck in 1859. It continues with the laying of the first telegraphic cable from America to Europe, the Irish Civil War, the moving of the Observatory from Valentia Island to the mainland at Cahirciveen and the evolution of meteorology from once daily observations to continuous measurement of earth and sky.
This month Keith Lambkin – Senior Climatologist at Met Éireann – joins Liz and Noel to discuss all things geophysical and meteorological from his time as Chief Scientist at Valentia Observatory.
Paul Moore has the weather and climate stats for September, while the Met Éireann Trad band “Ceo” perform two traditional tunes “Dingle Regatta” and “The Nightingale” to close out the episode.
Storms and severe weather can impact Ireland several times a year, and ensuring the public and its services are well-informed of these events is a key role for Met Éireann. In this episode, Liz and Noel take a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations and activities taking place in Met Éireann in the build up to a potentially major weather event. They are joined in studio by this month’s guest Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting in Met Éireann.
We hear how forecasters determine the likely strength, timing and location of severe weather, and learn about the natural indicators and computer-based tools that help them. We follow along with briefings from internal and international experts and hear how Met Éireann engages with the National Emergency Coordination Group. We also hear how Met Éireann communicates information and warnings regarding potentially severe weather and the importance of providing a clear and fact-based message to the public while avoiding hype.
Liz and Noel are then joined by Evelyn Cusack to talk about this year’s ‘Winter-Ready’ campaign, how to interpret our warnings, and why we name storms. To close the episode, the Met Éireann choir – The Isobars – perform a great rendition of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ with Aoife Murray conducting and accompaniment from Dónal Black.
North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index:
In the Christmas edition of the Met Éireann Podcast, Liz and Noel dig into all things snow. We hear about how often we get a white Christmas, how frequent snowfall is in general, and review some of the notable big snow events we’ve experienced in Ireland and around the world. We explore the different weather conditions that can lead to snowfall including sudden stratospheric warming, and why it can be so tricky to forecast snow in Ireland.
We often hear that all snowflakes are unique, but how do they form? Liz and Noel take us through the journey a snowflake takes from its formation to falling on the surface, and look into why they have such a distinctive shape. Finally, we learn about the role snow plays in our climate, and how the ongoing loss of snow and ice from our planet is amplifying present day climate change.
Liz and Noel are also joined by the Met Éireann choir, the Isobars, who are frequent contributors to the podcast. They tell us a little about themselves, and to close out the episode, perform a beautiful rendition of ‘White Christmas’ with Aoife Murray conducting and accompaniment from Dónal Black.
A very merry Christmas and happy New Year to all our listeners!
Met Éireann choir – The Isobars
Conducted by Aoife Murray.
Accompanied by Dónal Black on piano and Linda Hughes on violin.
The Met Éireann choir, ‘The Isobars’ was founded in early 2017 and is based at Met Éireann HQ in Glasnevin, Dublin. Serving and retired staff members have joined from all divisions in the organisation. The choir’s repertoire is comprised of mostly of weather-related songs. These went down a storm when the choir performed at the annual conference of the European Meteorological Society in 2017, at ‘The Wind the Shakes the Island’, a conference at the RDS in 2018, as well as at the Workplace Choir of the Year Competition in 2017 and 2018.
The Isobars are excited to be contributing to the new Met Éireann podcast and will play out each episode with a new song.
Sopranos: Sarah Gallagher, Sheila McGuinness, Liz Walsh
Altos: Elizabeth Coleman, Linda Hughes, Phil Stokes, Laura Zubiate
Tenors: Colm Clancy, Michael McAuliffe
Basses: Paul Downes, Matt Roberts
The Isobars sing Samhradh, Samhradh (traditional, composer unknown)
The 19th Century music collector Edward Bunting wrote that ‘Samhradh, Samhradh’ or ‘Thugamar Féin an Samhradh Linn’ “is probably extremely ancient.” It depicts a May Day tradition of carrying May dolls (bábóg na Bealtaine) through the countryside. The song is thought to have originated in the Oriel District on the Louth/Armagh border. In recent times the song has experienced a rejuvenation following a recording by The Gloaming.
‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’, Burt Bacharach and Hal David
The song was composed in 1969 for the film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.’ It was recorded by B.J. Thomas for the film and was subsequently released as a single, becoming the first number one of the 1970’s in the USA. It went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original song. The beautiful melody and upbeat lyrics made the song stand out against its contemporaries at the time, which included the more heavy-sounding ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zepplin and ‘Come Together’ by the Beatles.
An original piece of music by the ‘Met Éireann Trad Band’
Title ‘lá Ghaofar’ (Windy Day).
Original composition by Dónal Black.
Performed by the ‘Met Éireann Trad Band’:
Dónal Black – Mandolin
Linda Hughes – Fiddle
Sarah Gallagher – Low Whistle
Colm Clancy – Banjo
Dingle Regatta Nightingale is a piece of traditional music played by the Met Éireann Trad Band – ‘Ceo’ and features at the end of the Valentia Observatory podcast
Recorded September 2019