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By Senior Meteorologist, Adrian Cowin

We now know that 2023 is officially the hottest year ever recorded globally. According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, global temperatures during 2023 are more than 1.4 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels – close to the 1.5 degree target in the Paris Agreement and beyond which scientists say humans and ecosystems will struggle. Carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere are at their highest for at least 2 million years.  

Senior Meteorologist, Adrian Cowin reflects on our local climate in the Isle of Man during 2023 – now confirmed as the warmest on record. The temperatures of our seas were also above long-term averages, both bringing significant threats as we see the impacts of human-caused climate change unfolding. 

Monthly Mean Air Temperature Ronaldsway Airport

Source:  Isle of Man Meteorological Office, Ronaldsway Airport. 

The island had a mild start to the year; it was very settled in February (the second warmest on record) with little rain and no air frost, a common pattern in the last few decades where frosty days we would normally experience in the winter have almost halved 

The weather pattern lurched in March to give us rainfall up to 80% above normal for the month (4th wettest on record) and just average temperatures. April was close to average for most of the elements, but we did get 30% more rainfall 

May brought change and the total rainfall was only 16mm (6th driest on record) and it was a warm month. Heat continued to build to give us our hottest June since records began at the airport (1947), with lots of sunshine, staying dry for the entire TT fortnight! Unfortunately, the weather pattern rapidly changed to deliver our wettest July on record, with 145mm of rainfall. For the height of summer, August was close to average, with only 1 day exceeding 20 Celsius.  

Monthly Rainfall Ronaldsway Airport

Source: Isle of Man Meteorological Office, Ronaldsway Airport. 

A very unsettled Autumn: September returned to much more notable weather; it had 40% more rain than normal and 2 days with gales, named storm “Agnes”, but it was also our warmest September on record! October continued the warmer but wetter theme with strong winds, including the named storm “Babet”. Another named storm clobbered us in November; storm “Debi” gave us severe gales on the 13th with gusts of 70mph recorded at Ronaldsway as reports of widespread damage were reported.  

As the atmosphere warms due to global warming it holds more moisture; around 7% for each degree will mean more rain for the Isle of Man. There will be significantly more risks of flooding on the Island. 

November was slightly drier and sunnier than normal, with the mean 24-hour temperatures spot-on average for the month despite cooler conditions for the start of December. However overall, the final temperatures of the year were generally much warmer, peaking at 12.8 degrees, building up to stormy days, predominantly during Christmas, causing major travel disruption for many. With 148.5mm of rain collected in the gauge, the month was much wetter than the 95mm average. Flooding issues affected the north particularly when rainfall of 28.9mm during storm “Gerrit”. December saw 19 days  with strong winds of force 6 or more, which included 5 days with gales. 

Winter Rainfall in England - Ed Hawkins

Source: Ed Hawkins

The less seasonal, wetter and warmer and extreme conditions are showing the effects of climate change are already being experienced here, with potentially far-reaching consequences for our society, environment, infrastructure and surrounding seas. 

The sea surface temperatures (SSTs) this year are above the long-term averages for the Irish Sea; generally, between 1 and 2 Celsius warmer, and peaked at nearly 4 degrees above average in some waters! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared an extreme Marine Heatwave for the SST anomalies observed in large areas of sea around the British Isles during late Spring and early Summer.  

Intense heat like this can be at the detriment to sea life, sometimes on a huge scale. Marine heatwaves lead to extreme weather because storm systems pick up more energy and can become more intense and longer-lasting. 

Rising sea levels, heavier and more frequent rainfall (such as that experienced this year), combined with more intense storms contribute to higher flood risks and damage to coastal and inland areas of the Island. Global efforts at scale are required to combat and adapt to our intensifying and changing climate. 

Read more on the impacts of climate change on the Isle of Man and what you can do about it. 


  • Climate Change
  • Weather
  • Isle of Man
  • Warmer and wetter
  • Global Temperature
  • 1.5 degrees