2022 WaveNet data shows record breaking UK sea temperatures

13 January 2023

2022 data published by Cefas shows that sea temperatures across the south and east of England hit record breaking levels this summer.

Data published by the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) shows that sea temperatures across the south and east of England hit record-breaking levels in 2022.

The data provided by WaveNet shows that in August and early September 2022, sites in Tyne/Tees (off the Yorkshire coast), Dowsing (off the Lincolnshire coast), Southwold, Gabbard (in the southern North sea), South Knock (Thames estuary) and Hastings (in the English Channel) and around to Poole Bay in the Western Channel reached new highs. In the southern North Sea, temperatures were above 20 degrees for several weeks and reached 21 degrees at South Knock beating the last twenty years of data previously collected.

While these waters are typically the warmest in the UK, the rise is likely to be the result of an extremely warm summer, particularly in the south and east of England. Across the rest of the UK, temperatures at sites such as Liverpool Bay, Moray Firth, the Hebrides, the Firth and Forth, all reached above average levels.

Established in 2002,WaveNet, hosted by Cefas, provides real-time wave heights and temperatures from a network of wave buoys located around the UK coastline. The data, collected from a variety of third-party platforms and programmes (industry and public sector-funded), give an unprecedented insight into the changing conditions at sea around the UK.  

The WaveNet data, which is incorporated into Met Office meteorological models, will help forecasters, local authorities, and scientists to better understand the risks and impacts of climate change on the marine environment and coastal communities.

John Pinnegar, Lead Advisor on Climate Change and Director of the International Marine Climate Change Centre at Cefas said:

“Cefas has been monitoring seawater temperatures at various sites around the UK since 1902, and over the past 20 years has deployed state-of-the-art autonomous technology to give a more complete and accurate understanding of how climate change is affecting our seas. In 2022, through our network of WaveNet buoys, we recorded some the highest sustained sea temperatures ever recorded around the British Isles.”

Existing Cefas research shows that warmer seas are already having an impact on the movement and behaviour of fish stocks across the UK, with scientists observing an increase in warm-water species, such as anchovy, bluefin tuna, squid and red mullet and a retreat of cold-water species, such as wolf-fish and Atlantic cod.

Assessments by the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP), supported by Cefas, suggest that sea water temperatures will continue to rise over the coming century, with models projecting an increase of between 0.25°C and 0.4°C per decade in the future.

Visit here for more information on how annual average sea surface temperatures in the UK have changed


The red dots mark locations of Cefas maintained buoys, with graphs showing sea temperatures from three sites in the southern North sea and eastern English Channel.



  • WaveNet, hosted by Cefas, provides a single source of real-time wave data from a network of wave buoys located in areas at risk from flooding. In operation since 2002, WaveNet collects and processes data from the Cefas-operated Datawell Directional Waverider buoys, tethered at strategic locations around the UK coastline. The WaveNet system also gathers wave data from a variety of third party platforms and programmes (industry and public sector-funded), all of which are freely available for visualisation on the WaveNet website. WaveNet is funded through the Environment Agency, as part of the UK Coastal Monitoring and Forecasting service (UKCMF).
  • CEFAS are the government’s marine and freshwater science experts. We help keep our seas, oceans and rivers healthy and productive and our seafood safe and sustainable by providing data and advice to the UK government and our overseas partners.
  • Please contact communcaitons@cefas.co.uk for more information or to request an interview.


If you would like more information about this topic, please email the Cefas Communications Team at communications@cefas.co.uk or visit www.cefas.co.uk.