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Minister Smith launches new Climate Model which charts the course of climate change on rivers in Mayo

Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food visited (Saturday 2nd Oct) the Marine Institute laboratories in Co. Mayo to see at first hand the important work being carried out by the Institute in collaboration with UCD and Trinity College on the impacts of climate change.  This work has been developed as part of the NDP funded RESCALE project (Review and Simulate Climate and Catchment Responses at Burrishoole) and involves the development of computer models to assist land use and fisheries managers to deal with impacts of climate change on sensitive peatland river catchments.  In an Irish context this is the first time that Global Climate Models have been downscaled to a catchment scale and the work has clearly shown that in addition to milder winters and warmer summers we can also expect more frequent flood events in the west of Ireland by the 2080's.

Launching the publication of the final report on RESCALE project, Minister Smith said that the project was a major milestone in our understanding of the effects of climate change on sensitive upland catchments in the west of Ireland.  "While global climate change is a worldwide phenomenon, the research findings in this report provide information at the local level that will be invaluable to fisheries and land use managers", said the Minister. "Practical research work such as RESCALE is essential if we are to plan for the future management of our valuable agriculture, fisheries and forestry resources in the west of Ireland".

The project is studying data from an unbroken record of information on water temperature, air temperature, river discharge, rainfall and a host of other factors which exists for the catchment dating back to the 1950s for the Burrishoole river. This information collected at the Furnace facility and the neighbouring Met Eireann synoptic station, is invaluable as a resource, not only for measuring physical change over the past sixty years, but also as a proven yardstick to "ground-truth" any computer-generated models describing the likely effects of global warming.  Minister Smith said "I am very impressed with the work being done here in Newport and the high level of collaboration between the Institute and the Universities on marine research and its practical application to real situations to help inform decision making into the future".

Date Released: 04 October 2010