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What is the status of Ireland’s ocean?

Sea level: sea level continues to rise
  • Satellite observations indicate that the sea level around Ireland has risen by approximately 2-3mm/year since the early 1990s.
  • Analysis of sea level data from Dublin bay suggests a rise of approximately 1.7mm/year since 1938 which is consistent with global average rates.
Sea surface temperature: the ocean is getting warmer
  • The average sea surface temperature at Malin Head over the 10 years between 2009 and 2018 was 0.47oc above the 1981-2010 mean.
  • The global trend from 1990 to 2020 has been a rise in ocean temperature of 0.15oc/decade.

Malin head SST 1961-2018

Mean annual sea surface temperature (SST) and anomalies at Malin Head (1961-2018) + 0.15oc/decade [CSRI, 2020].

Ocean acidity: the ocean is becoming more acidic
  • Measurements in the surface waters to the west of Ireland between 1991 and 2013 indicate an increase in ocean acidity which threatens calcifying species such as corals, shellfish and crustaceans.
  • There has been a drop of -0.05 pH units from 1991 to 2013.