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Dublin: 17°C Thursday 26 May 2022

Why is Britain preparing for record-breaking heat, but not Ireland? Blame the Atlantic

The UK could face temperatures more than 10 degrees warmer than Ireland on Thursday.

People enjoy the weather in West Yorkshire.
People enjoy the weather in West Yorkshire.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

AS THE UK prepares for what could be its hottest day ever, Irish temperatures will remain warm and sunny – but far from the extreme conditions set to be experienced in the south of England. 

Met Éireann is predicting temperatures of between 19 and 24 degrees across Ireland tomorrow, with the weather remaining warm and humid in most of the country. 

This means Ireland will be receiving very different weather from the rest of Europe. The UK Met Office has been warning that temperatures tomorrow could be the highest ever recorded in the UK, surpassing the all-time record of 38.5 degrees. 

In France, Bordeaux has reported its highest temperatures since records began, as western Europe prepares for the second heatwave of the summer. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Met Éireann meteorologist Harm Luijkx explained that while Ireland will be still be warm over the coming days, the “influence of the Atlantic” explains why Irish weather is typically cooler than the rest of the UK and Europe. 

Ireland’s climate is influenced by our position on the edge of the Atlantic. Air masses from the south Atlantic provide the country with cooler temperatures. 

In Europe “the heat is coming from the land, which is much hotter” than air coming from the sea, Luijkx said. 

In some ways, Ireland’s island position means the sea acts as a buffer to warm air currents coming from Europe. 

“Because we’re surrounded by water, that is always going to cool the air,” he added. 

As hot air moves from mainland Europe, the temperature drops as it moves over the sea. 

In this instance, the gust of hot air won’t be really reaching Ireland at all and our current warm spell is being influenced more by air from the Atlantic. 

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So why is the UK so warm?

The UK, while also an island, is separated from Europe by a much smaller body of water.

The English Channel, Luijkx said, is much narrower and “air doesn’t have to cross a large body of water”.

This means that the south-eastern coasts of the UK will often be typically warmer than the rest of the country due to its proximity to the land mass of Europe. 

What this means is that even as the UK and the rest of Europe swelters in the coming days, Ireland is likely to remain a lot more cool and comfortable. 

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