How can Ireland adapt to the impacts of climate change? It makes sense to integrate high-quality evidence into any plans for climate change adaptation, and that’s where the ClimateIreland.ie website shines a light!

The website, which is designed and developed by MaREI, SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and the Marine, based at University College Cork and the Irish Centre for High End Computer, NUI Galway, as part of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment funded Climate Ireland programme, seeks to bring together information of use to researchers and policy makers, as well as the public more generally, about climate change, its potential impacts for Ireland and adaptation. 

Dr Barry O'Dwyer, Lead Research Scientist with the Impacts and Adaptation Group at MaREI explains, “The aim is to gather and present relevant information about adapting to climate change in Ireland, including observations and projections of climate change and its effects, and also current and projected information about where and how people are living in Ireland".

"We want to see are there populations or geographical hotspots that are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Then we also look at the science of how to adapt and implement changes.”
Cork City flooding 2009. Photograph: Getty

The public-facing result is an information-rich website that makes it easy to find out about climate change and hazards in Ireland, as well as providing various tools to help sectors and local authorities understand the need for adaptation. Work on the Climateireland.ie platform started in 2011, and the project is cited as key support for adaptation planning in Ireland’s national adaptation framework and Climate Action Plan. The portal was originally intended as a site for policy-makers and other stakeholders who implement climate change adaptation, but the site is free for everyone to access. 

Meanwhile, the team behind the project have been using the datasets to develop guidance about climate change adaptation for national and local use. “We have developed adaptation planning guidelines for both Government Departments and local authorities,” says Dr ODwyer. “We have also run workshops with local authorities to build capacity and understanding about climate change adaptation. The key result is that people can effectively bring climate data into their decision-making to ensure effective adaptation.”