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    The emergence of a climate change signal in long-term Irish meteorological observations

    Murphy, Conor and Coen, Amy and Clancy, Ian and Decristoforo, Victoria and Cathal, Steven and Healion, Kevin and Horvath, Csaba and Jessop, Christopher and Kennedy, Shane and Lavery, Rosalynd and Leonard, Kevin and McLoughlin, Ciara and Moore, Rory and O'Hare-Doherty, Daire and Paisley, Ricky and Prakash, Bipendra and Vatu, Julie and Thorne, Peter and Mateus, Carla and Ryan, Ciara and Noone, Simon (2023) The emergence of a climate change signal in long-term Irish meteorological observations. Weather and Climate Extremes, 42 (100608). pp. 1-13. ISSN 22120947

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    Detecting the emergence of a forced anthropogenic climate change signal from observations is critical for informing adaptation responses. By regressing local variations in climate onto annual Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST), we track the emergence of an anthropogenic signal in long-term quality assured observations of temperature and precipitation for the island of Ireland, a sentinel location on the western European Atlantic seaboard. Analysis of station based observations, together with island scale composite series is undertaken for annual and seasonal means, together with 16 indices of extremes, with the derived signal-to-noise ratio classified as normal, unusual or unfamiliar relative to early industrial climate. More than half of indices show the emergence of at least unusual conditions relative to early industrial climate. The increase in annual mean temperature has led to the emergence of unfamiliar climate at six of eleven stations. Warming at the island scale is estimated at 0.88 °C per degree warming in GMST. While many stations show the emergence of unusual climate for spring, summer and autumn mean temperature, no forced signal of change is found for winter mean temperature. Changes in cool/warm days and nights are unfamiliar relative to early industrial climate. However, no anthropogenic signal is found for the hottest day annually or in summer – an extreme often associated with climate change in public consciousness. Increases in annual precipitation totals have emerged as unusual for western stations with large increases in winter totals per degree warming in GMST (e.g., 25.2% and 19.7% at Malin Head and Markree, respectively), indicating heightened flood risk with continued warming. By contrast, summer precipitation shows no significant relationship with GMST. Increases in rainfall intensity have emerged as unusual for 30% of stations, with increases consistent with the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. Our analysis shows that an emerging climate change signal is discernible for Ireland, a location strongly influenced by climate variability.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Climate change; Signal to noise; Temperature; Precipitation; Extremes; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 17515
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Conor Murphy
    Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 14:11
    Journal or Publication Title: Weather and Climate Extremes
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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