An upcoming period of significant heat will be "a shock to the system" for Ireland, according to a member of the Climate Change Advisory Council.

Earlier today, Met Éireann issued a high temperature advisory, saying that Ireland is set to experience a hot spell from Sunday into early next week.

The forecaster said that daytime temperatures will widely reach the high twenties, possibly exceeding 30C in some locations. It added that temperatures will remain uncomfortably warm overnight too.

Professor Peter Thorne, Director of the Climate Research Centre at Maynooth University, said that Ireland is not equipped for these kind of heatwave events.

Speaking to RTE's Six One news, he said: "It's going to be a very significant heat event with very significant impacts for many members of society. It's not all about going to the beach and enjoying yourself. There will be many members of society who will have real issues with the heat that will occur early next week."

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He added these are more frequent, more intense events and this is "just a foretaste of what will happen as climate change continues to progress".

"This was well forecast months in advance. The expectation is that this abnormal heat will last through the summer. That doesn't mean every day in the summer, but there will be an increased propensity for this sort of heat across various parts of Europe for the remainder of the summer," he said.

The advisory was issued this afternoon at 3pm.

The forecaster said the weekend will start with "spells of hazy sunshine," with temperatures ranging between 20C to 25C. However, Saturday night is expected to be milder than previous nights, with temperatures remaining above 12 to 15 degrees.

Met Eireann said that high pressure coming in from the east will enable the very warm air that is over Spain and France to push up over Ireland, leading to the forecast high temperatures.

As it gets more detailed information, the forecaster is likely to upgrade the advisory in the coming days.

Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann Evelyn Cusack said that people needed to be careful of high UV rays and heed water safety advice.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, she said that showers will return next Wednesday.

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For people heading abroad, Ms Cusack said that there could be very serious heat, and she recommended that they do not go outside and stay in air-conditioned hotels.

No temperature advisories have been set yet for Northern Ireland, with the UK Met Office saying "the weekend will be dry and warm with some hazy sunshine" in the region.

However, an amber warning for extreme heat has been issued for England from Sunday, with the Met Office saying the hot spell is likely to peak early next week, impacting people and infrastructure on a widespread level.

Meanwhile, other parts of western Europe are suffering under a second heatwave in a matter of weeks.

Scientists warn that current heatwaves have been made hotter, longer and more frequent by climate change.