Ocean and Climate

Oceanography Main Image. Photographer Thomas Szumski

Oceanographic & Climate Services (OCS) is a diverse team made up of oceanographers, ocean modellers, and project managers. We work across three core areas: observing our ocean, ocean modelling, and climate services. Specifically, our role involves collecting ocean data; developing and operating models to produce ocean forecasts in Irish waters, and assisting government departments and local authorities with climate services and climate adaptation. We deliver scientific services to policymakers, fisheries, marine environment, aquaculture, and search and rescue, and a significant part of our work involves international collaboration with like-institutions and academic partners.

Wave Forecasts
Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report
The Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystems Status Report 2023 is the first to build upon its 2009 predecessor. This report assesses observational datasets covering a host of Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and includes recommendations across areas including: atmospheric changes, ocean warming, sea level rise, acidification, plankton and fish distributions and abundance, and seabirds. This report should be considered a guide to climate adaptation policy for the public. The 2023 status report notes the following key findings in the Irish context:
  • Sea-level rises of between 2-3 mm per annum since the 1990s
  • A rise of ~0.5C in sea surface temperatures on Ireland’s north coast over the past ten years.
  • Identification of surface water acidification
  • Identification of a year-round presence of harmful algal species


Our Core Areas

Oceanographic and Climate Services (OCS) encompasses three major areas: observing our ocean; ocean modelling, and climate services. Our team works across these three core areas to deliver crucial observational datasets, models, products and services, to users inclusive of policymakers, scientists, and the wider public.

Observations Oceanographic Data. Designed by Frank O'Reilly
Observing Our Ocean
Ocean observation is the foundation to everything we do within OCS. Our long term datasets enable us to provide information and advice for producing reliable models and recommendations. We regularly conduct our own surveys at sea and participate in international projects utilising the Marine Institute’s (MI) research infrastructure, including the Tom Crean and Celtic Explorer research vessels.
Ocean Forecasts
Ocean Modelling
Ocean models are numerical representations of ocean properties (i.e. temperature, salinity, currents and sea surface heights) and behaviour. Forecasting ocean models are some of the most common types users encounter. Forecasting models for weather have existed for decades and in recent years, oceanographers have produced similar forecast conditions for the ocean using mathematical models.
Research. Photographer Glenn Nolan
Climate Services
Climate services assist government departments and local authorities adapt to marine climate change. Our team provides robust evidence to users and informs our identification of challenges, and appropriate responses and recommendations relating to the climate. Explore our policy mandate and activities here.