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Milestone in Irish climate research: Met Éireann researchers to launch new high resolution study of Ireland’s recent climate

Published on Thursday, 25 May 2017
Met Éireann

A cornerstone for studies of the Irish climate, and a solid foundation for climate services in Ireland: The completion of the Met Éireann climate reanalysis project MÉRA (Met Éireann ReAnalysis) will be marked tomorrow (26 May 2017) with the launch of the newly re-analysed climate dataset by Eoin Moran, Director of Met Éireann in the DCU Alpha innovation campus.

“Any study of climate change must be grounded in a foundation of solid knowledge about our past and recent climate. Climate reanalysis is a scientific method for reconstructing the recent climate of Ireland in 3-dimensions through the use of advanced computer-based techniques to recreate past weather” says Dr. Saji Varghese, Head of Research, Environment and Applications Division in Met Éireann.

Climate Scientists use detailed mathematical models of the atmosphere and prime them with all observations to develop a complete reanalysis of Irish weather patterns stretching back over decades.  Such a record of how weather and climate have changed over time provides additional and much more detailed information to that from the weather observation networks. This reanalysis produces a rich dataset that describes, in great detail, the behaviour of the Irish weather over the last three decades and more. This dataset will itself provide the “raw material” for climate scientists to further study and elucidate the changes that are underway in our climate.

“Climate reanalyses are an important source of information for monitoring and analysing past climate in the context of climate change” says Eoin Whelan, Senior Scientist in Met Éireann.

This new dataset, and the studies that flow from it, will help society, and policy makers in particular, to further understand future climate risks and to prepare appropriately adaptation strategies to deal with future weather.

Over the past 3 three years, Met Éireann researchers were involved in the production of a high-resolution, three-dimensional climate reanalysis dataset using a state-of-the-art Weather Prediction system running on some of the most powerful computing resources available to European science. The hourly dataset has been produced on a spatial resolution of 2.5 km for the period 1981 - 2015 for the region covering Ireland, the United Kingdom and a small area of north-west France. It is the highest resolution reanalysis dataset available today for the Irish-UK region.

“MÉRA will greatly extend the knowledge gained from weather observations and will have relevance in many sectors of study related to understanding our atmosphere and our environment” says Dr. Emily Gleeson, Senior Scientist in Met Éireann.

Some of these key sectors include atmospheric research, climate adaptation/mitigation services, renewable energy and insurance.

The event will mark the completion of a production period that created 900 TB of data, equivalent to 1.3 million audio CDs and used 12.5 million computer hours. Through Ireland’s membership of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the production of these data was made possible through exploitation of the parallel processing capabilities of ECMWF's supercomputer.

The availability of this new high quality MÉRA open dataset will enable academic, public and private sector users of weather and climate data to develop and provide value-added, sector-specific local information about how future weather is likely to affect every man, woman and child living on this island.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

For further information on MÉRA contact: The MÉRA Research Team, 65/67 Glasnevin Hill,

Dublin 9, D09 Y921; +353 1 8064200; mera@met.ie

Met Éireann (http://www.met.ie)
Met Éireann, Ireland's National Meteorological Service, is a line division of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and is the leading provider of weather information and related services in the State. Its mission is to monitor, analyse and predict Ireland's weather and climate and to provide a range of high quality meteorological and related information to the public and to specific customers in, for example, the aviation and agricultural sectors. As a scientific and technical organisation, it strives to utilise the latest technological and scientific advances in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy of its forecasts.

ECMWF (http://www.ecmwf.int/)
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states. ECMWF is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the Member States. The Centre also offers a catalogue of forecast data that can be purchased by businesses worldwide and other commercial customers. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archive) at ECMWF is one of the largest of its type in Europe and Member States can use 25% of its capacity for their own purposes.

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