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Tom Keane, Met Éireann

Apart from financial incentives and the need to diversify, expansion into forestry is mainly in response to the favourable Irish climate for tree growing, especially the fast growing, high yielding conifers such as Sitka spruce and Douglas fir. The importance of weather and climate in forest management is recognised by many foresters who use Met firearm's climatological and forecast services in their planning and daily operations.

Climate and tree growth Forest production is strongly influenced by climate and by soil. Soils permitting a good root system are important for high shear strength while peatland forests can be particularly susceptible to adverse climatic conditions. Site slope and aspect can affect the solar radiation and heat available to forests. Flowering and reproduction are sensitive to temperature. For example good seed years often follow warm, dry summers. Degree-day (temperature sum) maps have been used to indicate areas where crops can be grown successfully.

Frost Radiation frost resulting from surface cooling in clear, calm nights can cause severe damage in late string or in extreme cases kill young transplants if the air temperature falls to below -30C newly emerged shoots can be killed. Frosts after mid-May are likely to cause damage to species such as young Sitka spruce which break bud relatively early. The likelihood of damaging frosts is greatest in the midlands as can be seen from the accompanying map.

Frost heave or frost lift due to water in the soil freezing and expanding can be a problem in forest nursery seedbeds, particularly on heavier soils in very cold spells. In nurseries, seedlings are sprayed with water on frosty nights liberated latent heat from the freezing of sprayed water maintains a plants temperature.


(a) 50% . (b) 20% . (c) 10%

Last air frost of spring - dates exceeded with probabilities (a) 50% (b) 20% (c) 10%

Met Éireann supplies a special frost warning service to nurseries each spring and autumn.

Temperature close to O Met Éireann supplies a special frost warning service tc nurseries each spring and autumn.

Precipitation and evaporation Annual rainfall in Ireland varies from 800 mm in the east to 1200 mm in the west at sea level. On elevated or upland.

* the above text from Tom Keane, Met Éireann.


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