British seas are currently warmer than California’s, according to a study by British oceanographers.
Recordings taken by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) have found that the temperature of Britain’s seas is at an all-time high, and places like Start Bay in Devon and Perranporth in Cornwall, are currently experiencing warmer waters than Californian holiday hotspot Santa Monica.
According to Dr Tim Smyth of the PML, light winds, calm seas and warm night time temperatures were all contributors to the warmer seas we are enjoying.
Despite a sluggish start in the early part of the year, the unusually warm weather we have enjoyed since June has seen water temperatures rise by 4C – twice as fast as usual.
This has resulted in the highest temperatures recorded in British seas since monitoring began seven years ago.
Best beaches in the UK
Best beaches in the UK
1/10 Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire
Previously a privately owned beach, Barafundle Beach is now open to the public. The solitary patch of sand that makes the bay is set between cliffs to the north and south and is surrounded by areas of rural beauty with few urban areas surrounding it. The lack of beach side facilities - while irritating for those in need - does mean the beach is often deserted - so it's a great location to avoid noise.
2/10 Lansallos Bay, Cornwall
A small, enclosed, and peaceful bay in Cornwall, perfect for anyone craving quiet from noisy tourists. Lansallos Bay is great for swimming thanks to the calm waters and is also dog friendly. The bay is slightly secluded yet near enough to some towns and the Killigarth holiday park to make nearby stays comfortable.
3/10 Holkham Bay, Norfolk
Holkham Bay is located in Norfolk, about an hour's drive from Norwich. This bay stretches for miles on end with little urban interference, which many will appreciate. With beautiful, (but often bleak) scenery it's a great location for long walks rather than the usual not-doing-anything-on-a-sun-lounger.
4/10 Rhosilli Bay, Swansea
Located in South-West Wales this gorgeous three-mile beach is a great spot for beauty thanks to surrounding cliffs and fields. A natural unspoiled location that’s also popular for water-sports, in-particular surfing. Rhosilli Bay is accessible from the small village of Rhosilli but could easily be reached from the nearby Swansea if you fancy a more traditional hotel location.
5/10 Camber Sands, Sussex
This is the closest the UK gets to the hot, golden, beach stereotype Hollywood has so kindly given us to feel jealous of over the years. Camber Sands of East Sussex stretches seven miles and trades in the traditional British pebbles for stretching golden sand dunes. Go there for a sunset walk on a hot day and you might just forget you were ever in Britain.
6/10 Porthminster Beach, Cornwall
Another much loved Cornish beach near the busy town of St Ives. This popular tourist location is home to a wide stretch of beautiful white sands and (on a good day) blue sea. Near to several shops and restaurants it’s a great choice for a family outing.
7/10 Nairn Beach, Nairnshire
On the small coastal town of Nairn, Scotland lays Nairn Beach. If you are comfortable with the proud northern traditions of cold and rain then you will be able to appreciate the quiet scenic beauty of this open sandy beach.
8/10 Brighton Beach, East Sussex
Brighton Beach is a fairly simple stretch, but the brilliant surrounding city and extending pier attraction means it makes its way onto the list. Brighton is a busy coastal city, very popular with tourists and filled with great restaurants, shops and accommodation all in close proximity to the beach. Plenty of great places to stroll along the beach and on-the-whole calm waters for swimming make it a great summer destination.
9/10 Sandwood Bay Beach, Sutherland
A picturesque desolate beach about as far north in Scotland you can go. At this beach you trade comfort and warmth for a striking natural landscape of white sandy dunes and cliff views.
10/10 Blackpool Sands, Devon
South Devon is home to a beautiful sandy, sheltered bay. This crescent beach is a popular tourist destination for those who want an exotic, sunny location without having to wait for the passport office to sort that renewal out. A great spot for swimming due to clean and calm surrounding waters.
He said: “We were looking at an average year until June but over the last six weeks temperatures have risen quickly. It is not surprising because there has been a lot of sunlight and calm weather but also, crucially, mild nights, so less heat is lost.”
Many believe that this increase in British sea temperatures is a direct result of climate change, but Dr Smyth disagrees.
He told the BBC: “We have had some pretty awful summers followed by a good summer last year and a potentially good summer this year so we can’t say it’s part of some climate shift.”
This is all good news for British coastal resorts who expect that the warm seas could lead to an increased number of last minute holidaymakers opting for the south west coast this summer.
Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall, told The Times: “We estimate that 10 per cent to 15 per cent of people leave their holiday decisions until the last moment and this might bring them our way.
“With temperatures about 25C (77F) and the sea at 20C (68F), it is close to perfect for Brits who don’t like Mediterranean heat.”
As well as providing warmer seas for holiday makers to revel in this summer, the increase in sea temperatures along Britain’s coasts could also see a number of new exotic fish, including sunfish and bluefin tuna migrating to the southwest coast.
Already a number of fishermen have spotted tuna in the bluefin tuna in waters around Devon and Cornwall and this trend is expected to continue with more and more species moving to the south west this summer.
With the Met forecasting a summer that promises continued warm weather, expect the next six weeks to provide more of the same in terms of high sea temperatures.