Sweltering heatwave labelled ‘one of Earth’s most intense’ as it fries UK ocean

The UK's sea waters are being heated by a sweltering marine heatwave which is believed to be one of the Earth's most intense.

The category four marine heatwave is currently sweeping across the waters off the UK and Ireland.

Unlike a regular heatwave, land temperatures are unaffected with the scorching temperatures found exclusively at sea.

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The North Atlantic has been in the grips of unprecedented heat for the past three months, reaching a blistering 23C on June 17, as reported in the New Scientist magazine.

Experts from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report that our surrounding waters are experiencing an extreme category four marine heatwave.

Cathal Nolan from Ireland's Weather Channel unravelled the enigma, telling Dublin Live: "While it’s certainly been warm over land of late, perhaps even more significantly the temperature of the waters around Ireland have been even hotter.

“NOAA has produced a graphic indicating that in some areas Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are some 5C above average at present.

"We’re used to hearing about heatwaves over land, but our seas and oceans can also experience heatwaves, leading to significant impacts to sea surface temperatures, marine life, corals and secondary impacts such as fishing, real feel conditions for swimmers and, of course, our weather."

Nolan explained the factors contributing to this aquatic heatwave.

"For Ireland, the prolonged spell of warm, sunny weather we’ve experienced has certainly elevated our SSTs, with values now on par with what we would typically expect in August or September when they’re at their highest.

"Weak trade winds from Africa, meaning less Saharan sand in our atmosphere and thus more direct sunlight, have triggered a temperature increase.

“Additionally, we’ve begun to experience the warmth-enhancing El Nino conditions.

"On top of that, the present temperatures are already 1.1C above average across Ireland due to climate change, with Europe’s temperatures rising at a rate double that of the global average.

“This melting pot of factors is why we’re currently enduring a marine heatwave."

Intense sea temperatures can spell danger, brewing more potent storms and threatening marine life, including fish, with heightened mortality rates.

The UK can expect to see rain in western areas on Friday (June 23), with warmer temperatures set to return over the weekend.

The hottest weather is expected in south-east England, with Scotland seeing thundery showers in places.

Conditions are set to be fresher for the start of next week.

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