EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The potential impact of predicted climatic change on future slope stability in Ireland

Niamh Cullen1 and Mary Bourke2
Niamh Cullen and Mary Bourke
  • 1Dublin City University, School of History and Geography, Geography, Ireland (
  • 2University of Dublin, Trinity College, School of Natural Sciences, Geography (

Globally landslides are triggered by a myriad of singular and complex causes however the response of the Irish landscape to predicted climate changes are unknown. Some limited data suggest that there may be an increasing trend observed in the frequency of landslides in Ireland, clustered around specific high magnitude rainfall events. Whether this trend is associated with a changing climate trend is unclear. None of the several peer reviewed compendiums that include regional landslide studies and climate have a dedicated contribution on Irelands landscape. We provide a summary of the climate of Ireland from Holocene to future modelled predictions. We present a qualitative assessment of the role of Irish climate and climate change on landslides by identifying specific climate aspects which are important for slope instabilities including precipitation receipts, intensity and variability; the tracks of storms and other rain bearing weather systems and temperature changes. We examine published case studies and an inventory of known landscape response to past weather to consider, qualitatively, the likely response of landslides to predicted future climate trends. We also present rainfall data for three recent landslides events in Ireland and identify areas that require further landslide research. Our review finds that climatic factors which are predicted for Ireland, are cited in the published literature as contributors to slope failures in the Irish landscape. Analysis of rainfall data for the three recent slope failures further support this. Our review suggests that Ireland may see an increase in the frequency of landslide occurrence in the future. Although the data suggests that the majority of failures occur in peat, we highlight a paucity of data for coastal slope failures.  

How to cite: Cullen, N. and Bourke, M.: The potential impact of predicted climatic change on future slope stability in Ireland, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8302,, 2022.


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