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Is The Water Getting Warmer? A Look At The Data

Courtesy of Zoltán Makai, English Channel.

We asked the question, “Are water temperatures getting warmer [see here]?”

In an online Facebook discussion, some swimmers mentioned that water temperatures were getting colder.

But English Channel swimmer and coach Zoltán Makai – who was the first Slovak to cross the Channel in 2002 – dug further in the historical records of the English Channel.

Makai, a Channel Swimming Association representative in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, collected data in order to compare weather temperatures over time regarding the English Channel. “As a coach, I am usually preparing swimmers for their Channel swimming challenge.”

He is currently helping Rostislav Vítek and others in their English Channel attempts so his research has real meaning for his swimmers.

Makai was incentivized to check the relevance of real temperature change over time because he heard claims from older swimmers from the Czech Republic who said they swam across the English Channel in colder temperatures than contemporary swimmers. “In those days, they said they swam across the Channel around 12-14°C water temperatures – which is much colder than what swimmers face now. So I tried to collect reports from the Channel Swimming Association, but in the old days the reports did not record the water temperature…at least officially so I found another source that provides data that is closer to reality.”

The British Met Office provides historical data on the climate around the United Kingdom [see here]. The records date back to 1934.

Makai continues, “The short analysis between 1934 and 2015 shows the average water temperature has risen by 2°C. Then, the water temperatures have changed since 1974 until 2015 an average of 1°C.

Of course, this data has to be considered as an average…Tmin and Tmax vary and maybe a deeper analyses could be conducted from this raw data [see here].”

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