This weekend, The Met Office, the Britain's national weather service, predicted “fine and warm [weather] across England and Wales, with a good deal of sunshine.” A nationwide warning to take precautions against the heat was even issued. Meanwhile in Ireland, Twitter users have created the trending hashtag #IrishSummer, tweeting pictures of rain, floods and ruined trips to the beach.
There are only 12 miles between the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and the nearest tip of County Antrim, and just over 62 miles between Rosslare in Co Wexford and Fishguard in South Wales, the Irish Post reports, so why does the weather in Ireland and Britain differ so much?
Veteran Irish weatherman John Eagleton explained, “England is not a different climatic zone to Ireland, but it is semi-different in that it often has better summers. It’s not as temperate as we are. It’s not right beside the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not as prone to weather systems as we are. It has more of a continental influence in the summer.”
Eagleton says it also has to do with basic geography. London’s latitude is 51° N, he says, compared to Dublin’s 53° N.
“It’s not hugely different, but we are more exposed to an Atlantic influence – just marginally more but those margins make a big difference.”
“Ireland is a bit further north, nearer the North Pole and further from the Equator,” he continues.
Another reason London feels that much hotter: “London has its own microclimate – with all that concrete it can be hotter by one or two degrees.”
Fortunately, Ireland does get the benefit of the Gulf Stream. Without that, Eagleton explains, the country would be just like Lithuania with freezing winters and without the compensation of Lithuania’s warmer summers.
He adds that this isn’t the wettest summer Ireland has experienced.
“It’s not very pleasant…but it’s not as wet as 2007, 2008 or 2009. The fields aren’t flooded, the ground is in good shape. It’s a poor summer, but we’ve had good summers [in Ireland] the last two years so you never get three good summers in a row.”
Eagleton does offer a thin ray of hope for the month of August. “In the next ten says it’s not going to be as bad as it has been,” he says.