Greenland ice shelf causing North Atlantic waters to cool significantly

Global warming could have future effect on gulf stream responsible for Ireland’s temperate weather, briefing on Government’s Be Summer Ready campaign hears

Melting of the Greenland ice shelf may have an impact on the future weather in Ireland, Met Éireann chief forecaster Evelyn Cusack has said. Photograph: Felipe Dana/AP/PA

The Greenland ice shelf is melting and causing a huge pool of cold water to form in the North Atlantic, Met Éireann chief forecaster Evelyn Cusack has said.

Evidence of the pool has emerged over the last five years and the pooling may have an impact on the future weather in Ireland, she told a briefing on the Government’s Be Summer Ready campaign.

A recent Marine Institute study has said there may be a slowing down in the gulf stream as a result of climate change and this may bring cooler temperatures in a warming world.

Ms Cusack said Met Éireann was now preparing for the potential of drought this summer as the modelling shows that climate change has made it more likely.


Last summer saw the hottest days in Ireland for 135 years with a top temperature of 33.1 degrees in July in the Phoenix Park. Spain has had a record-breaking spring of high temperatures and temperatures hit 40 degrees in parts of France last June.

So far it has been a cooler and wetter spring than the average, with rainfall of 1½ times normal and the potato harvest is late.

Ms Cusack said Ireland has been fortunate that it has been on the periphery of the European heatwaves that have hit the continent and it means Ireland is unlikely to ever see 40-degree temperatures because of the cooling effect of the seas.

Met Éireann is launching a number of additional features in its app for the summer of 2023. There will be a seven-day forecast for sea temperatures, with sea swimming continuing to gain in popularity. Another new feature will be a 10-day forecast for mountain forecasting which will give an hour-by-hour breakdown of the weather.

The theme of this year’s Be Summer Ready campaign is Plan – prepare, learn, alert and notify.

The public is urged to plan and prepare for activities on the water, l is for learning how to use equipment, A is for alert and knowing what do in event of an emergency and N is knowing who to notify if you get in trouble.

The campaign is being supported by the Coast Guard, which responded to more than 2,700 incidents last year on the water.

Water Safety Ireland chief executive Roger Sweeney said 110 people drown in the State every year and all of those deaths are preventable.

He recommended that people swim at lifeguarded waterways only and wear a life jacket when boating.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times