Ireland Ireland Ireland Ireland

Previously in ClimateChangePost


Pollution of inland streams, rivers and coastal waters may change. More intense precipitation in the future may lead to more pollutants being transported to water bodies.

How much sea level rise is to be expected at the upper limit of current IPCC scenarios? This question has been dealt with for northern Europe

Climate change could have major implications for the lowland blanket bog distribution along especially the western Atlantic seaboard where the projected losses are greatest.

Severe hurricane-force (> 32.6 m/s) storms can cause floods in west-European coastal regions and inflict large-scale damage on infrastructure and agriculture.


I recommend

National plans/strategies for Ireland

  • Ireland’s Sixth National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.
  • National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important Irish topics

  • Fresh water resources: Environmental Protection Agency (2003). Climate Change: Scenarios and Impacts for Ireland. Download.
  • Storms: Wang et al. (2008). The impact of climate change on storm surges over Irish waters. Download.

Reports/papers that present a sound overview for Europe

  • Eisenreich (2005). Climate change and the European water dimension. A report to the European water directors.
  • European Environment Agency (2005). Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Europe. Download.
  • European Environment Agency, JRC and WHO (2008). Impact of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on specific topics, relevant for all of Europe

  • Agriculture: Rounsevell et al. (2005). Future scenarios of European agricultural land use II. Projecting changes in cropland and grassland. Download.
  • Agriculture: Fischer et al. (2005). Socio-economic and climate change impacts on agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080. Download.
  • Biodiversity: Thuiller et al. (2005). Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Download.
  • Coastal erosion: Salman et al. (2004). Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Download.
  • Droughts: Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007). Changes in European drought characteristics projected by the PRUDENCE regional climate models. Download.
  • Droughts: European Environment Agency (2009). Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought. Download.
  • Forestry: Seppälä et al. (2009). Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A global assessment report. Download.
  • Health: Kosatsky (2005). The 2003 European heat waves. Download.
  • Health: WHO (2008). Protecting health in Europe from climate change. Download.
  • Insurance and Business: Mills et al. (2005). Availability and affordability of insurance under climate change. A growing challenge for the U.S. Download.
  • Security and Crisis management: German Advisory Council on Global Change (2007). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. Summary for policy-makers. Download.
  • Storms: Gardiner et al. (2010). Destructive storms in European forests: Past and forthcoming impacts. Download.
  • Storms: Pinto et al. (2007). Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Download.
  • Tourism: Deutsche Bank Research (2008). Climate change and tourism: Where will the journey lead? Download.

EU funded Research Projects




Climate change scenarios

Coastal areas

Droughts and water scarcity



Fresh water resources

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Urban areas

Biodiversity Ireland

Vulnerabilities - Marine, estuarine and intertidal biodiversity

Changes in the distribution of marine species will occur with climate change. Although we are able to identify species which are potentially sensitive to climate change, the extent to which any changes will happen is very difficult to predict. Overall, there may be a greater potential for Ireland to lose existing seabird and coastal bird species as a result of climate change than to gain new species. Further exotic species will invade Ireland (1).

Changes in sea level may result in significant losses of lagoon and estuarine habitat and coastal ‘squeeze’ may prevent migration inland of these habitats in many parts of Ireland.

The effect of a sea level rise on estuaries will tend to enlarge their vertical and horizontal extent, resulting in the penetration of tides further upstream. The outflow from rivers would be impeded as a consequence. These changes in estuary morphology would also diminish sediment supply to the coastal zone as the sediment would be retained within the confines of the estuary. This has important implications for the coastal zone as off-shore sediment supply has almost ceased requiring reworking of existing sediment within the coastal zone. Studies conducted on the east coast of Britain predicted that estuaries could migrate landwards at a rate of 10 m/yr, assuming a sea level rise of 6 mm/yr.

Salt marshes and sand dunes are ecological strongholds providing a variety of habitats for a range of different species. Many of the marsh systems in Ireland provide over-wintering feeding grounds for many species of migratory birds. The loss of these habitats could present major problems for species numbers and diversity. Estuaries may also be affected by decreased runoff, which may reduce flushing. This would allow increased penetration of predators and pathogens of shellfish into estuarial zones (1).

Vulnerabilities - Terrestrial biodiversity

Montane heaths are suggested as being particularly sensitive to climate change, since many montane species are at the lower altitude/southern latitude edge of their distribution, with limited migration potential and an increase in temperature combined with summer drying may prove detrimental for this habitat in Ireland (2).

Similarly, peatlands are expected to suffer considerably from summer drying. An increase in decomposition, a reduction in peat formation, more erosion, changes in species composition, loss of carbon storage and an increase in acid runoff may occur in this already fragile resource (2).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Ireland.

  1. Environmental Protection Agency (2003)
  2. Department of theEnvironment, Heritage and Local Government