Ireland’s Worst Winter
in 140 Years

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
October / November 2014

Continuing within the trajectory of global climate change, it was revealed by NUI Maynooth climatologists that Ireland last winter had the stormiest season on record in over 140 years. They found there was an “unprecedented strength and number of cyclones over the mid- and high-latitude north Atlantic.” They pointed to cyclones that occur over the north Atlantic and eventually hit Ireland. Dr. Connor Murphy at Maynooth said, “The exceptional nature of last winter’s storminess emphasises the importance of understanding the processes driving such extremes, particularly in light of projections of increased cyclone activity in this part of the Atlantic.”

The researchers, who included Dr. Murphy, Dr. Tom Matthews and doctoral student Shaun Harrigan, all from Maynooth, reviewed the atmospheric datasets from winters in Ireland and Britain. They found that while some years winters had more storms and storms that were more intense, “no year in the 143-year record endured a winter as severe as 2013-2014 when both the frequency and intensity of storms are combined.”

This research provides an important insight into the global nature of climate change and the ways in which our environment is continuing to adapt and change not only in the United States, but around the world.

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