Climatologists call on industry to help develop Irish climate centre

16 Mar 2016

Climate scientists from the Earth Institute in University College Dublin (UCD) are calling for academic and industry partners to develop a new centre to further greater research into climate change.

Led by the UCD Earth Institute’s Prof Jennifer McElwain, the call for industry partners is being issued with the aim of developing a new climate centre that would be dedicated to curbing greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural, transport, residential and industrial sectors.

McElwain previously spoke to last year and argued that “The only organism that can curb climate change is us, humans. If we want to curb climate change we have to change our behaviour.”

Even just looking at recent reports in the media, research has now formally linked recent extreme weather events as being a result of climate change, not to mention the flooding that severely disrupted much of Ireland last December.

To further the aims of finding financial support from industry for a new climate centre, 10 new publications from UCD climate scientists will aim to collectively firm up future predictions on how Ireland’s weather, coastal waves, stream flows, forest, grassland systems and our transport infrastructure will respond to future global climate change.

Flooded signage

Flooded signage at Knocklofty Bridge, Tipperary. Image via Irish Typepad/Flickr

Ireland at forefront of climate change innovation

Among some of the papers published is one by climatologist Conor Sweeney, who predicts that average annual temperatures across Ireland will increase by between 0.4 and 1.8ºC  by the middle of this century.

Also, wave expert Prof Frederic Dias’ paper predicts decreases in average wind speeds, including extremes, over the North Atlantic Ocean by the end of this century and says that extreme wave heights will decrease in summer and winter under future climate change scenarios.

Some potential solutions proposed within this new set of papers includes a potential human-made answer to climate change by injecting sulphur dioxide gas high up into the stratosphere to reflect a small proportion of the sun’s solar energy away from warming the Earth’s surface.

Speaking of the potential of a national climate centre, McElwain says: “An Irish climate centre which links universities and industries together around the common goal of climate action and mitigation would put Ireland at the forefront of innovation regarding climate change.

“Together we can develop novel products and solutions which are ‘climate friendly’, ensure job and wealth creation, but at the same time reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Flooding river in Galway image via anpalacios/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic