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Irish Meteorological Society

Environmental Indicators of Climate Change in Ireland

Alison Donnelly
Department of Botany and Centre for the Environment, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

In order to detect the impact of climate change on the environment we have developed a list of potential indicators which are sensitive to changes in climate. These impact indicators are systems/organisms, the response of which change in response to changes in environmental condition. The indicators in this presentation fall within the Impact category of the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework. Instrumental records have shown an unequivocal change in climatic conditions at a global level but impact indicators allow these changes to be monitored at a finer resolution. The aim of this presentation is to examine sets of indicators currently in use by various countries and to make recommendations for the use of indicators of the impact of climate change on the Irish environment. We present a preliminary set of climate change impact indicators in five sectors: agriculture; plant and animal distribution patterns; phenology; palaeoecology and human health. The most effective impact indicator of climate change proved to be phenological observations of tree developmental stages. The strongest limiting factor was the lack of long-term data sets from which a climatic signal could be detected.

Alison Donnelly is an environmental scientist currently working with the Climate Change Research Group in the Department of Botany at Trinity College. She is working on refining the impacts of climate change in Ireland with colleagues from Maynooth University. She has recently completed a project investigating methods of liming to mitigate acidification of surface waters in afforested catchments. She is involved in the UNECE IPC vegetation programme examining the effects of ambient ozone concentrations on natural vegetation and crops. She has extensive experience in the field of bioscience having previously worked in the University of Nottingham (1999-2000), FÁS (1989-1990), Teagasc (1994-1999) and the University of California at Davis (1988). She completed her PhD in 1998 which studied the effects of elevated CO2 and O3 on spring wheat, her MSc in 1993 which investigated the effect of air pollution on epicuticular waxes of pine needles and her primary degree was in Geography.

Room G32 Earlsfort Terrace, NUI Dublin

8p.m. Friday 5th September, 2003

Members of the Public are Welcome to Attend
Updated Tue 26 Aug 2003

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The Irish Meteorological Society - 2004