How weather helped shape a global green holiday

Rachel Modestino
·2 min read
How weather helped shape a global green holiday
How weather helped shape a global green holiday
How weather helped shape a global green holiday

Home to never ending farmland, striking green rolling hills, and known as the Emerald Isle, there is no better colour to represent Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day than green.

But at similar size and latitude to Canada's own Atlantic island, Newfoundland, what are Ireland's secrets to its luscious green landscape?

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Ireland has a perfect combination of little forest, mild climate and abundant moisture to optimize its grass growth. Two key climate factors also help to amplify Ireland's green landscapes, both of which Newfoundland lacks.

The first secret lies within the Atlantic Ocean water, known as the Atlantic overturning circulation.

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95324main v39n2-mccartneycurry1en

Courtesy: NASA

Ireland is on the warm side of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). With the help of easterly trade winds, currents such as the North American Current and Gulf Stream, release heat over the Atlantic Ocean and warms Ireland's coast. In contrast, Newfoundland resides on the cold side of the circulation, as waters from the Arctic Ocean flow from the north, bringing chillier coastal waters to the region.

The result: Ireland is considerably warmer when compared to Newfoundland.

The second secret lies in the air, specifically atmospheric moisture.

MOISTURE-IRELAND
MOISTURE-IRELAND

Although closer to Canada, the Gulf of Mexico provides Ireland with seemingly never ending moisture and precipitation. Following the easterly trade winds across the Atlantic Ocean, an atmospheric lake transports moisture from the Mexico Gulf right to the Irish shores.

The mild, rainy climate is good for vegetation.

Ireland's plentiful moisture and considerably warmer climate than that of Newfoundland, helps to promote growth to its bountiful grassland, proving grass truly does grow greener on the other side -- at least of the Atlantic Ocean.