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Surface air temperature

Average surface air temperatures are expected to increase everywhere and across all seasons.

An increase in the intensity and duration of heatwaves is expected.


Observed change

  • Observations indicate an increase in the surface temperature for Ireland of 0.9°C in the 120 years up to 2018.
  • Fifteen of the top 20 warmest years up to 2018 have occurred since 1990.
  • The number of warm spell days has increased over the last 60 years while the number of frost days has decreased.


Projected change

  • Mean air temperatures are expected to increase everywhere and for all seasons relative to the present.
  • With increasing air temperatures, an increase in the intensity and duration of heat waves is expected, with a coincident decrease in the occurrence of frost days likely.
  • For example, projections indicate that the number of heatwave events will increase by up to 15 under the RCP 8.5 scenario (high emissions scenario) for the period 2041-2060 when compared with baseline period 1981-2000. 

Projected temperature increase (2041-2060)


1.0 - 1.8°C


1.3 - 1.9°C


0.9 - 1.6°C

Spring 0.9 - 1.3°C

Projected increases in temperature for Ireland for the period 2041-2060 relative to 1981-2000 [source: Nolan & Flanagan, 2020]. Projected changes account for low-medium (RCP 4.5) and high (RCP 8.5) emissions scenarios.


Climate status report for Ireland 2020, Camaro & Dwyer: climate observations report

High-resolution Climate Projections for Ireland - A Multi-model ensemble approach 2020, Nolan & Flanagan: climate projections report