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Galway City Climate Plan highlights risk of severe flooding and heatwaves


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway City  Climate Plan highlights risk of severe flooding and heatwaves Galway City  Climate Plan highlights risk of severe flooding and heatwaves

Severe flooding events, heatwaves and droughts all pose a significant risk in the coming decades, according to the City Council’s Draft Climate Action Plan (CAP).

And while the impact of climate change was becoming more “real and visible” with every passing year, there was a responsibility on the local authority to “mitigate and adapt” to the impact of climate change.

A climate risk assessment, developed as part of the CAP, sets out a forecast of increased flooding, both coastal and riverine, more frequent heatwaves and droughts, and increasingly rare ‘prolonged cold spells’ in winter.

The risk assessment, using comparisons to records for the 1981 to 2000 period projects a number of climate impacts, including ‘very frequent’ coastal flooding.

A sea-level rise of up to 0.24 metres by 2050 “will increase the frequency of coastal inundation” according to the plan, while a projected increase in heavy rainfall days by up to 37% “will likely result in an increased frequency of associated fluvial and pluvial flooding”.

An increase of between 1.1 and 1.4°C is forecast on the last two decades of the 20th Century, while “under a high emission scenario, projections indicate that heatwaves will become more frequent by mid-century [2041-2060]”.

“Summer rainfall is expected to reduce by between 6% and 8% in the future when compared with the baseline period of 1981-2000.”

Cold spells and heavy snowfall are anticipated to become ‘rare’ events by mid-century, and the annual snowfall in the region is projected to “decrease substantially”.

Severe windstorms are said to be “subject to a high level of uncertainty” but by mid-century, projections in the Climate Action Plan suggest that average wind speed will remain similar to those currently experienced.

While there is “limited evidence” of a potential increase in the frequency of more intense storms which are currently rare, “more research is needed to confirm this increase”.

The plan sets out that Galway City Council’s Senior Management Team must review and update the Major Emergency Plan by the end of 2024 to include for the response to the increased risk of flash floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and wildfires in the city.

(Photo: Chaosheng Zhang)
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article and for a special news focus on the Draft Climate Action Plan, see the December 1 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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