It is expected that 2023 will be the warmest year on record for Ireland, with unprecedented levels of rainfall at times, according to new Met Éireann data.

For the first time, Ireland’s annual average temperature is greater than 11°. Last year was the previous warmest year on record at nearly 10.9°C, narrowly beating 2007 by just 0.1°C. 

This year saw the warmest June on record with above 16°C on average. 2023 also saw the wettest March and the wettest July on record in Ireland. July was also the wettest month in 2023. 

Commenting on the Provisional State of the Irish Climate Report 2023 published today (Thursday, December 28), head of climate services at Met Éireann, Keith Lambkin said: 

“Ireland has seen a remarkable year with rainfall and warming at unprecedented levels at times. These record-breaking extremes have knock-on consequences to much of society.

“Past weather events are no longer a reliable indicator of future weather events, but knowing this allows us to better plan and adapt to our changing climate.”

Rainfall and warming in Ireland

For the first time in a single year since 1941, two months observed their wettest on record. This year these were March and July, according to the provisional climate report.

Of 25 synoptic stations 22 have already had over 100% of their 1981-2010 long-term average rainfall in 2023. The remaining stations are Mace Head, Galway; Finner, Donegal; and Belmullet, Mayo.

Provisional monthly rainfall anomalies 2023. It was the wettest March and wettest July on record. Source: Met Éireann

This year 24 synoptic stations are having their warmest year on record. Only Sherkin Island, Cork, had a slightly warmer year in 2007, provisional 2023 figures show.

The following has also been recorded in Irish climate in 2023: 

  • February 2023 was ranked 5th mildest and 6th driest February;
  • In April 2023 Storm Noa brought storm force winds and waves to up 17.3m on the Kerry and Cork coast;
  • May 2023 was ranked 2nd warmest May; 
  • Significant flooding during Storm Betty occurred in August;
  • September 2023 was the 3rd warmest September with rare heatwaves and the highest temperature of the year with 29.1°on Friday, September 8, 2023 at Lullymore Nature Centre, Kildare;
  • October 2023 was the 2nd wettest month of year. Cork Airport recorded its highest October rainfall ever, with 222% of October’s 1981-2020 long-term average. Storm Babet caused significant flooding;
  • November saw more rainfall and flooding;
  • Eleven named storms during the year, and three named storms in December – Elin, Fergus and Gerrit. 

Since 2000, on average, one or two months of the year have recorded their top five warmest temperatures. In 2022, for example, Ireland had two months within their top five warmest.

However in 2023, four months reached a “top five warmest on record”: These are: February (5th warmest), May (2nd warmest), June (warmest ever), and September (3rd warmest). 

Island of Ireland annual average temperature anomalies (1961-1990 long-term average) 1900 to 2023. Source: Met Éireann

January 2023 observed the lowest temperature of the year with -7.2° on Tuesday, January 17 at Lullymore Nature Centre, Kildare, according to the report.

Met Éireann notes that it has been over a century since the coldest March (1919), April (1922), May (1923), July (1922), August (1912), September (1918), and November (1919).