HoStIr is an investigation of past storminess in Ireland that is being conducted between Spring 2023 and Autumn 2025.
The response of atmospheric circulation to warming is one of the least certain aspects of climate science, due in part to a spread between model simulations of the storm track and uncertainty about the key drivers of change. Short observational records and high natural variability further prevent the past response of storminess to climate change being established.
The work has three research strands:
Strand 1 will test two potential indicators of past sea spray deposition in coastal peatlands (preserved bromine deposits and the biomass of microscopic testate amoebae) to see if these can be used to reconstruct past storminess. To assess the response of these proxies to changes in peatland surface salinity, they will be analysed along a coastal transect spanning sediments with high to low exposure to sea spray.
The second strand of work will develop multi-millennial records of past storminess for western Ireland through the high-resolution analysis of sediment cores. Records from three sites on the west coast will build a picture of how storminess varied across Ireland in the past.
Finally the third work strand will use the developed storminess records to conduct the first data-model comparison of past storminess, focusing on the warm mid-Holocene (~6000 years ago) and climate changes during the last millennium.
The developed storminess records and data-model comparison will build knowledge about how and why storminess in Ireland was altered by past changes in the climate.