Scotland's climate 'changing faster than expected'
Scotland's climate is changing faster than expected, scientists have warned. A study by the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen says February in some areas is already 2.5C warmer while rainfall is at levels forecast for 2050. They are concerned that the changes could affect food production and efforts to protect peatlands which store carbon. It comes as the world broke a series of weather records including the hottest year and the hottest month in July. Researchers have been comparing temperature and rainfall records from the period between 1960-1989 to the three decades from 1990 to 2019. In some parts of Scotland, the average monthly maximum temperatures in February rose 2.5 degrees, while the highest maximum temperatures have risen from 12.6C to 13.4C. They say the February average monthly maximum temperature change is comparable with the lower range of what climate modelling had been predicting for 2020-2050. Scientists have warned that climate change is making extreme weather events more common Storm Arwen in 2021 brought 100 mph north-easterly winds which flattened entire forests and left many without electricity for days. Then this year Storm Babet burst river defences in Brechin, Angus, causing flooding in more than 400 properties. The study found that Scotland has already experienced more winter rainfall than predicted for mid-century. It said February and April have become up to 60 percent wetter in the last 30 years, particularly in the west, compared with the previous three decades. That exceeds the projected change for 2050 which was expected to see around 45-55 percent more rain. Lead researcher, Dr Mike Rivington, said is indicates that we are already in the midst of climate breakdown. He added: "This will have global impacts, affecting trade and undermining the stability of economies while at the same time reducing our own capacity to adapt. "There has never been a more important time to understand the scale of the threat and how fast we need to act." The research was carried out by the James Hutton Institute on behalf of the Scottish government. The Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan said it underlined that climate change was not a distant threat but one which was happening today. This video can not be played Storm Babet: 'We spent years making our home - in 24 hours, it was gone' The study suggests that over the next 60 years Scotland can expect to experience longer periods of dry weather, particularly around September. It predicts that will lead to more water shortages and pressures on the productivity of agricultural land. Ruth Taylor, agriculture and land use manager at WWF Scotland, said the study's findings will be of no surprise to farmers. She added: "Over recent years they have battled periods of extreme heat, drought, and flooding to grow the food we all rely on. "This analysis is valuable to inform the agriculture bill currently under scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament." Correction: This story has been amended to give the right average monthly temperature for February and make it clear that the report says extreme weather events - rather than specifically storms - are becoming more likely because of climate change. Return to River Street a month after the Brechin flood Climate change: 2022 was Scotland's hottest year US and UK launch strikes on Iran-backed Houthi targets in Yemen How Imran Khan plans to win an election from jail Iran says Syria and Iraq strikes are 'strategic mistake' Pakistan's king of comebacks looks set to win again Can Musk's Neuralink brain chip really change the world? Did bodybuilding bring on my early perimenopause? I almost died up a mountain scattering dad's ashes How Imran Khan plans to win an election from jail El Salvador voters focus on security ahead of poll Does Germanys economy need more than a cup of coffee? They fled as lava spilled into town - and they may never return What are routes out of this 'dangerous moment' in Middle East? How one rhino became a global celebrity The literary scandal that rocked US high society When employers gut middle managers, everyone hurts 2024 BBC.