Skip to main content

Sea surface temperatures

The rate of sea surface warming around Ireland is increasing at an unprecedented rate.

In line with global trends, the seas around Ireland are expected to continue warming.


Observed change

  • The global ocean surface temperature has increased by approximately 0.7°C since the 1850s, with the rate of warming estimated to have doubled since the 1990s.
  • The sea surface temperature record at Malin Head in the period 2009 to 2018 was on average 0.47°C above the 1981-2010 mean.


Projected change

  • In line with global changes, the seas around Ireland are projected to continue warming over the coming decades. Projected changes for the Irish Sea indicate a warming for all seasons with the highest warming in Autumn and the lowest in Spring. However, due to a limited number of climate model projections, projected changes remain uncertain.

Climate status report for Ireland 2020, Camaro & Dwyer: climate observations report

Regional modelling of the 21st century climate changes in the Irish Sea, Olbert et al.: climate projections report