Ireland is likely to see a cooling of temperatures due to the weakening of the Gulf Stream, a report published by the Marine Institute has found.
The Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report found that the Gulf Stream, which is a strong ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean, is predicted to decrease by 30% in the coming years.
The report also says that climate change has already contributed to a rising sea level of 2-3mm since the 1990s and a rise of half a degree in sea surface temperatures over the last decade on Ireland's northern coast.
Dr Gerard McCarthy from the Icarus research facility at Maynooth University said the climate will be "much less extreme" if Ireland hits its climate targets.
Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said: "Some climate change is locked in and will happen but we will have a much less extreme experience if we hit those climate targets."
Dr McCarthy said one of the "surprising" aspects of the report is that there is an "element of cooling" in the North Atlantic.
"So this is really remarkable that an area of the world is cooling when the whole other part of the world is warming up. We think this is a slowdown in the Gulf Stream system," he said.
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Dr McCarthy said the Gulf Stream is critical for Ireland's climate as a small island on the edge of a large ocean and explained how Ireland relies on that heat delivered by the ocean.
He said: "Without the Gulf Stream system the climate of Ireland would be much more like the climate of Iceland.
"We have evidence from observations and from climate models that the Gulf Stream system is expected to weaken with climate change going into the future.
"What that means for Ireland is that we could be looking at a relatively cooler, and now that depends on whatever else is happening and how much the Gulf Stream weakens.
"But a relative cooling and increase in storminess and a decrease in precipitation, particularly in the summer time."
Dr McCarthy said most future climate is determined by how much greenhouse gases are emitted.
"The difference between emitting a high emissions scenario and a much more moderate and controlled amount of carbon or reaching our targets and reaching carbon neutrality are very, very different."