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The Marine Unit

Marine Climatology

Weather reports are provided for general climatological or legal purposes. These are written reports of the weather at a particular time and location and are based on the routine weather charts drawn up by the forecasters and on the data stored in Met Éireann's climatological data-base.

Weather observations from ships, buoys, lighthouses, lightvessels, oil rigs and gas platforms and some from satellites are stored in the climatological data-base as is some of the wave model output and verification and statistical products are provided.

Sea Temperatures
Ireland's temperate climate is mainly due to the moderating influence of the sea. The waters around our coasts are remarkably warm - 7° to 8°C warmer than the average global sea temperature at these latitudes thanks to the warm North Atlantic Drift, the main ocean current effecting Ireland . The prevailing southwesterly winds transfer the heat from the sea to the land.

Marine Sea Temp Graph

YEAR / MONTH 2010 Automatic 2011 Automatic 1961-1990 Manual
JANUARY 7.0 6.8 7.3
FEBRUARY 6.4 7.2 6.7
MARCH 6.7 7.5 7
APRIL 8.1 9.2 8.1
MAY 10 10.9 9.9
JUNE 11.7   12
JULY 14.7   13.8
AUGUST 15   14.6
SEPTEMBER 14.5   14
OCTOBER 12.6   12.4
NOVEMBER 10.1   10.2
DECEMBER 7.9   8.5

Note: On 1 August 2007 the manual sea surface temperature readings at Malin Head were discontinued and the automatic readings became the official data. For more than 3 years an overlap between the manual and automatic readings were recorded, and a difference of 0.8º C between both sets was apparent, mainly due to difference in location.

Disclaimer: the above figures for 2010 and 2011 are provisional and may be subject to change after quality control and before official release.

Sea temperatures off the Irish coast range from an average of 10° C off the south-west coast to less than 7° off the north-east coast during February, and from 16° C in the south to 13° C in the north Irish Sea in August.

Highest and lowest temperatures occur somewhat later in the year at sea than over land. Water takes longer to warm up and cool down. In general, sea temperatures are higher than those of the air during the winter, while the reverse is the case during the summer months. The differences in both cases are comparatively small, less than 5° C but they are large enough to have a major influence on our climate.

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