Climate of Ireland
Ireland enjoys a temperate maritime climate, due mainly to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the presence of the Gulf Stream. Known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is so green because it receives a lot of precipitation. Consequently, Ireland does not suffer from the extremes of temperature experienced by many other countries at similar latitude.
Average annual temperature is about 9 °C. In the middle and east of the country temperatures tend to be somewhat more extreme than in other parts of the country. For example, summer mean daily maximum is about 19 °C and winter mean daily minimum is about 2.5 °C in these areas. Mean annual windspeed varies between about 4 m/sec in the east midlands and 7 m/sec in the northwest. Strong winds tend to be more frequent in winter than in summer. Sunshine duration is highest in the southeast of the country. Average rainfall varies between about 800 and 2,800mm. With southwesterly winds from the Atlantic dominating, rainfall figures are highest in the northwest, west and southwest of the country, especially over the higher ground. Rainfall accumulation tends to be highest in winter and lowest in early summer.
Typical winter weather in Ireland is clouds and rain with the occasional sunny spell. The mountains may have snow on them for many weeks in winter, but falls on the lower ground on only a few days a year, and is generally not a feature of the Irish climate. Temperatures hover around a January average of 5°C. Overnight temperatures often drop below freezing point, and ice and frosts are common. Each winter there are a few weeks when the temperature does not rise above freezing point all day, and rivers and lakes can partially freeze over.
Typically, summers in Ireland have warm, sunny weather and a sky dotted with gentle fluffy clouds. Light rain occasionally occurs on days like these, but summer rain is usually restricted to a few wet days. In July and August, the conditions can bcome very humid and thunder storms can occur with lightning. The average July temperature is around 15°C.
Areas close to the coast rarely have a large difference between summer and winter conditions, and Ireland is no exception. With an average 10ºC difference between January and July, the weather is much more consistent than continental areas of the world. This consistency is due to the moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean, which absorbs heat in summer and gives it out in winter.
Sunshine in Ireland
The sunniest months are May and June. During these months sunshine duration averages between 5 and 6.5 hours per day over most of the country. The extreme southeast gets the most sunshine, averaging over 7 hours a day in early summer. December is the dullest month with an average daily sunshine ranging from about 1 hour in the north to almost 2 hours in the extreme southeast. Over the year as a whole most areas get an average of between 3 1/4 and 3 3/4 hours of sunshine each day.
Rainfall in Ireland
Most of the eastern half of the country has between 750 and 1000 millimetres (mm) of rainfall in the year. Rainfall in the west generally averages between 1000 and 1250 mm. In many mountainous districts rainfall exceeds 2000mm per year. The wettest months, almost everywhere are December and January. April is the driest month generally but in many southern parts, June is the driest. Hail and snow contribute relatively little to the precipitation measured.
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