Climate of Scotland
Learn more about Climate of Scotland
The climate of Scotland is temperate, and tends to be very changeable, with no extremes. It is warmed by the Gulf Stream from the Atlantic, and given its northerly latitude it is much warmer than areas on similar latitudes, for example Labrador in Canada - where icebergs are a common feature in winter. However, temperatures are generally lower than in the rest of the UK, with the coldest ever UK temperature of -27.2°C recorded at Braemar in the Grampian Mountains, on January 10, 1982 and also at Altnaharra, Highland, on December 30, 1995. Winter maximums average 6°C in the lowlands, with summer maximums averaging 18°C. The highest temperature recorded was 32.9°C at Greycrook, Scottish Borders on August 9 2003. In general, the west of Scotland is usually warmer than the east, due to the influence of the Atlantic currents, and the colder surface temperatures of the North Seabut the areas around the Moray Firth are fairly mild all year and Aberdeenshire enjoys much drier, sunnier and warmer summers than the Glasgow area in the west which has an extremely wet climate.
In common with the rest of the UK, wind prevails from the south-west, bringing warm, wet air from the Atlantic. Rainfall totals vary widely across Scotland. The western highlands of Scotland are the wettest place in the UK with annual rainfall exceeding 3000mm (120 inches). Due to the mountainous geography of the western Highlands, this type of precipitation is orographic in nature, with the warm, wet air forced to rise on contact with the mountainous coast, where it consequently, cools and condenses, forming clouds. In comparison, much of Scotland receives less than 800mm (31 inches) annually, and eastern and southern parts of the country receive no more rainfall than the driest parts of England. In fact, eastern Scotland lies in the rain shadow of the western uplands. Snowfall is not common in the lowlands, but becomes more common with altitude. Braemar experiences an average of 59 snow days per year, while coastal areas have an average of less than 10 days.
The furthest west of the Hebrides are some of the sunniest places in the UK. 329 hours of sunshine were recorded on Tiree in May 1946 and again in May 1975. Aberdeen is the sunniest city in Scotland. On the longest day of the year there is no complete darkness in the north of Scotland. Lerwick, Shetland, has about four hours more daylight at midsummer than London, although this is reversed in midwinter.
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