“If you don’t like the weather in Ireland, don’t worry, wait a few minutes and it will change.”
The Irish climate can be described as ‘changeable’ (it changes a lot!), ‘mild’ (there are no extremes of either cold or hot temperature) and ‘damp’ (it rains a lot).
Let’s ask some very obvious questions about the weather and see if you know, the sometimes not so obvious, answers!
1. Why is the Equator hotter than the North and South Poles?
You know this is true but have you ever thought about the actual reason why? It’s not because the Equator sticks out and is a bit closer to the sun!
At the poles, because of the angle at which the sun’s rays hit the earth, they are spread over a much wider area so the heating effect is reduced. At the Equator, the rays hit directly. They are concentrated on a smaller area and so are much stronger.
2. Why is Dublin so much warmer in winter than Moscow? The two cities are on almost the same latitude yet the average January temperatures are, Dublin: 3˚C. Moscow: -16˚C.
The global climate system works by transporting heat from the Equator to the Poles and much of the heat is carried by the ocean currents. The Gulf Stream, which passes by the west coast of Ireland, carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic where, being cooled by Arctic winds, it sinks and circulates southward again. The Gulf Stream means Ireland has a mild (warm and wet) climate. It never gets too hot or too cold. The summer temperatures are 18-25˚C and the winters 3-8˚C.
WINTER WEATHER EXPRESSIONS IN IRELAND
3. Why does it rain so much in Ireland?
Ireland is an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish Sea and the North Sea. Moist, warm air forms rain clouds over the Atlantic and Ireland is the first big landmass that these clouds reach. For the clouds to rise up over the land they have to lose some of their density and rise up into cooler altitudes. The water vapour then condenses and turns into rain. This happens all year round which mean that it rains in summer and winter in Ireland. And there is a lot of water in the Atlantic ocean to keep making new rain!
4. What clothes should you bring if you’re visiting Ireland?
The simple answer – all of them!
Ireland’s climate is very changeable with sometimes many different types of weather all in one day. This leads to the strange situation where on a summer day when the weather is cool and wet, you can look out the window and see some people with umbrellas and coats and others with sunglasses and shorts. If you just look at the people, you will have no idea what the weather is. The Irish often ignore the actual weather conditions in the clothes they wear. In the middle of winter you’ll people out on a Saturday night wearing mini-skirts or short-sleeved t-shirts.
5. Why do the Irish talk about the weather so much?
Exactly because it is so changeable. Every day is different, a surprise. You need to have some good
vocabulary to talk about the many different types of weather you experience.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO DESCRIBE ‘RAIN’ IN IRELAND
How would you describe the climate in your country? What would be your perfect climate to live in?