Ireland is famed for its beautiful countryside, but the future could be different. The green fields and forests of today may end up a miserable brown and yellow landscape.
The country could lose its lush green countryside if changes in the climate continue at their current rate according to a report by the Irish Meteorological Service. Hotter, drier summers and milder winters are forecast in the report and these changes will have an effect on the country’s landscape and wildlife.
Farmers have already suffered financially
The report suggests that the summers could have up to 20% less rain causing much of the vegetation to struggle to survive. The changes have already begun, this year much of the grasslands turned brown due to a lack of rain. This meant farmers had to import food for their livestock, resulting in a tough financial year for what is one of Ireland’s key industries.
The winter months will also see a change as a 14% rise in rainfall is expected. This would pose a genuine threat of flooding in some areas, a problem that has already occurred during more severe winters in recent years.
Warming has had significant impact on wildlife
A comparison of weather reports for every year between 1990 and 2012 shows an average increase in temperature in Ireland of around 0.8 °C. If this continues then it could have a negative effect on the country’s wildlife.
The report says: “There is no doubt that a spring warming in recent years has had a significant impact on Irish wildlife by advancing the timing of key phenological phases of a wide range of organisms, including trees, birds and insects…it is certain Ireland’s insect communities are changing and climate change is a major factor.”