The Meteorological Office at Malta Airport is celebrating World Meteorological Day, with the theme chosen by the World Meteorological Organisation for 2021 being “The Ocean, our Climate and Weather”. Coinciding with the start of the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science, this year’s World Meteorological Day theme aims to raise awareness about the central role the ocean plays in shaping weather and the climate.

The sea surrounding the Maltese islands is, in fact, not only an important part of Malta’s environmental heritage and identity, but also influences the weather the islands experience as it moderates the air temperature on land and contributes to atmospheric humidity. This gives rise to conditions which are very rarely cold or dry enough for the Maltese islands to experience proper snowfall, with soft hail or graupel being a more likely occurrence.

The records kept by the Met Office show that the sea is coldest in February in Malta, with the month having maintained an average temperature of 15.1°C over the years, and warmest in August, with the average temperature for the month standing at 25.7°C. Zooming in on records for the past five years reveals that the lowest sea temperature was recorded on 4 February 2019 at 14.4°C, while the highest was reached on two consecutive days in August 2020 at 28.8°C.

Besides recording sea temperature, the Malta Met Office conducts other marine observations. Weather models are used in determining wave height and direction, while radar and satellite are used in monitoring live atmospheric weather, such as thunderstorms, at sea. Forecasts stemming from these observations are then used by seafarers and regularly support entities in safely conducting search and rescue operations at sea.

Marine forecasting is but one of the services provided by the Met Office, with the ability to read models, together with a thorough knowledge of prevalent currents and Mediterranean topography, being essential skills for this branch of forecasting locally. The Met Office – through a 12-strong team of forecasters, observers, and administrators – provides an array of weather services and historical data to members of the public, entities requiring precise meteorological information for safe day-to-day operations, and students conducting research.

To further improve its services, the Met Office has invested in a new radar system which allows for a more detailed weather analysis in real time and complements the recently installed Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS).

For more weather updates and interesting facts, we invite you to follow the Met Office on Instagram – @maltametoffice – and on maltairport.com/weather.