Homogenization and analysis of an expanded long-term monthly rainfall network for the Island of Ireland (1850–2010)

S. Noone, C. Murphy, J. Coll, T. Matthews, D. Mullan, R. L. Wilby, S. Walsh

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    Long-term precipitation series are critical for understanding emerging changes to the hydrological cycle. To this end we construct a homogenized Island of Ireland Precipitation (IIP) network comprising 25 stations and a composite series covering the period 1850–2010, providing the second-longest regional precipitation archive in the British-Irish Isles. We expand the existing catalogue of long-term precipitation records for the island by recovering archived data for an additional eight stations. Following bridging and updating of stations HOMogenisation softwarE in R (HOMER) homogenization software is used to detect breaks using pairwise and joint detection. A total of 25 breakpoints are detected across 14 stations, and the majority (20) are corroborated by metadata. Assessment of variability and change in homogenized and extended precipitation records reveal positive (winter) and negative (summer) trends. Trends in records covering the typical period of digitization (1941 onwards) are not always representative of longer records. Furthermore, trends in post-homogenization series change magnitude and even direction at some stations. While cautionary flags are raised for some series, confidence in the derived network is high given attention paid to metadata, coherence of behaviour across the network and consistency of findings with other long-term climatic series such as England and Wales precipitation. As far as we are aware, this work represents the first application of HOMER to a long-term precipitation network and bodes well for use in other regions. It is expected that the homogenized IIP network will find wider utility in benchmarking and supporting climate services across the Island of Ireland, a sentinel location in the North Atlantic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2837–2853
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
    Issue number8
    Early online date05 Oct 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016


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