Are the green hills of Ireland turning brown?
by Alan Harten
March 17, 2008
The rolling green hills of Ireland are under threat of becoming the rolling brown hills. As climate change threatens Ireland’s lush green landscape. This is according to a new study, seemingly released to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day.
The paper, which has the title ‘Changing Shades of Green’ is a report published by the Irish-American climate project. The paper, oddly, is a combination of information gathered from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And the thoughts of a fisherman/poet strong connections to Ireland.
Environmental consultant, Kevin Sweeney, who was also director of the project, said, “The lush greens could turn to brown and the soft rains that people talk about as a blessing — ‘May the rains fall soft upon your field’ — those soft rains could turn harsh,” “It really is changing the look and feel of Ireland,”
Mr. Sweeney admitted that climate change on the island was not as dramatic as elsewhere in the world, such as Africa. However, it also emphasised that this global climate problem may change the lush green hills of Ireland, a sun baked brown.
The report claims that potato crops may cease to be commercially viable because of prolonged drought conditions. Pastureland may be saturated with heavy rains throughout the winter months, causing serious problems for grazing animals.
A drastic reduction in the amount of summer rainfall would raise the country’s peat bogs away from their bedrock anchor, making them liable to massive landslides. By far the biggest change will be a massive drop in average rainfall figures.
“The nickname Emerald Isle is a legacy of Ireland’s steady rainfall,” “By mid-century, winters could see an increase of more than 12% and summers could see a decrease of more than 12%. Seasonal storm intensity changes will increase the impact of these changes.”
The report also said that the southern counties may have a more Mediterranean like, climate. “If its pouring rain, I’ll say, ‘We’re in the climate of the music,”‘ Irish fiddler Martin Hayes said in the report. ” That softness of the rain, it’s there.”
Mr. Hayes said, “I feel frightened and worried. I feel despair. It goes into every aspect of my life.”
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