Ireland experiencing summer-like sea temperatures, says Met Éireann

Forecaster moving towards ‘impact-based’ warnings to reflect what will happen as a result of the weather

Sea temperatures around Ireland at present are what one would expect to see during the summer, Met Éireann chief forecaster Evelyn Cusack has said.

Normally windy weather in November would be accompanied by dropping temperatures, but sea temperatures are up to 13 degrees, five degrees above normal for the time of year.

Temperatures on Thursday were higher than 16 degrees in many parts of the country, she said. She anticipated that the mild temperatures will persist for the rest of the month.

Speaking at the launch of the Government’s Be Winter Ready campaign, Ms Cusack said it was apparent that climate change was already manifesting itself in current temperatures.


She said the warmer temperatures are part of the reason why Ireland had its wettest October on record in the west and midlands of the country.

There is a lot of natural variation at Ireland’s latitude, she said, but temperatures have risen by a degree in the past 100 years.

Met Éireann is, meanwhile, moving towards “impact-based” weather warnings to reflect not just what the weather is, but what will happen as a result of it.

There are more weather alerts at present because the ground is already saturated and even a small amount of rain can lead to flooding, she said.

“It has been an exceptionally warm autumn in Europe and we are part of that heating,” she said. “A warmer atmosphere is producing more moisture and more rain.”

Speaking at the launch, Patrick O’Donovan, the Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said flooding is now the biggest threat to communities in Ireland.

It is clear, the Minister added, that climate change is happening now and that there will be a process of migration within Ireland where people will move from flood-affected areas that “simply cannot be protected”.

He said many householders are dreading the winter if it means more flooding.

He also said the “planning process cannot keep up with climate change” and flood relief measures may not come in time for communities as some are being delayed by planning issues or judicial reviews.

“Flooding is not a new risk for Ireland, but it is a risk that will increase as the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, and this year’s theme – this year’s main focus – is around flooding,” he said.

Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton said it will be “a key priority” for her to keep national and regional routes open.

“Last year we saw an unusually mild and unsettled winter and, according to Met Éireann’s data, the sixth warmest one in 123 years,” she said.

“We experienced six named storms between December and February, the most disruptive being Storm Barra and Storm Eunice.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times