Intense rainfall in Ireland leading to major agricultural losses, as experienced at the end of 2023 and start of 2024, is now likely to occur once every 20 years, a group of climate scientists has said.

A study from the World Weather Attribution group, outlined that the level of intense storm rainfall that has a major impact on farming was only likely one in every 80 years in pre-industrial Ireland, before the burning of fossil fuels.

If warming reaches 2°C, as expected in the 2040s or 2050s, it is predicted rainfall that can saturate soils will happen one in every 13 years, with storm rainfall becoming 4% more intense.

The study looked at how climate change caused by human behaviour increased storm rainfall from October 2023 to March 2024 in Ireland and the UK.


The scientists estimated that climate change contributed to a 15% increase in the rain that fell in the latter part of 2023 and beginning of 2024.

“Successive floods compounded impacts on the agricultural and housing sectors, leading to cascading impacts on socioeconomic and psychosocial health and reducing people’s coping capacity, particularly among low-income groups,” the study noted.

Climatologist at Met Éireann Ciara Ryan, said the study showed an increased likelihood and intensity of rainfall events.


“Over the recent autumn-winter period we have witnessed the impact that heavy or prolonged rainfall has had on our communities, our land and the farming and agricultural sector, waterlogging the soils with virtually no time for them to dry out and become usable.

“The insights that we gain from studies like this are important to help us plan for the future, to support adaptation and mitigation strategies for an already-changing climate,” she added.