Regardless of how quickly we reduce emissions, the ongoing impact of past pollution means that oceans will continue to warm and sea levels will continue to rise. So what will this mean for Ireland? Peter Thorne, a professor of physical geography at Maynooth University and one of the IPCC report’s lead authors, said that by 2040, we’re facing another 10cm added to the sea level. “Historically Ireland has been, in general, quite lucky,” he said. “Storm surges have tended to hit over a low tide. It’s only a matter of time before we eventually run out of luck, and you get a storm surge coinciding with a high tide. We are going to confront future generations with a major challenge, because protecting Dublin, Galway and Cork from multi-metre sea-level rise is not really plausible.” Eugene Farrell, a geography lecturer at NUI Galway, agreed that Ireland’s coastal cities were “very vulnerable to extreme storm events”. In a worst-case scenario, floods that have previously happened once in 100 years in coastal cities could happen once every ten years by the end of this century, Farrell said. Stephen Flood, a climate adaptation researcher at Maynooth University, said the combination of increased coastal erosion and sea-level rise could require “managed retreat” of some residents from certain areas. “These impacts will be seen towards the middle of the century and beyond. Undoubtedly, on a small scale, there will be some coastal retreat in Ireland,” he said.
Times 15th Aug 2021 read more »