Globally 2010 is on track to be the warmest year on record. The Artic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and this summer its sea ice is melting at a near record pace. The sun is heating the newly open water, so it will take longer to re-freeze this winter and the resulting thinner ice will melt more easily next summer.
Scientists are not sure what will happen when a large portion of the Artic Ocean changes from white, sunlight-reflecting ice to dark, sunlight-absorbing water. But most are concerned. Some believe that new air movement may disrupt the Northern Hemisphere’s jet streams, and this could in turn change storm tracks, rainfall patterns and food production far to the South.
But a new report from Forfás, Adaptation to Climate Change: Issues for Business, could bring opportunities as well as risks to Irish businesses, including tourism.
The report opines that a warmer more reliable summer season could support an extension of the peak season, as the relative attraction of other regions (e.g. the Mediterranean), may weaken due to weather extremes. It sees potential for the development of new tourist products, in particular water-based holidays.
But the report also sees some risks, many relating to extreme weather events and heavier winter rainfall, such as experienced last winter. Coastal erosion is also a worry.
This report is well worth a browse, partiuclarly given that there is an excellent Executive Summary which can be access by CLICKING HERE – ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: ISSUES FOR BUSINESS – SUMMARY REPORT.
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August 31st 2010