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Scottish Climate Update - November 2009

10 December 2009

One of a series of Climate Updates from WWF Scotland based on data from the Met Office.

TOP LINE: November was the wettest November ever recorded and nearly a degree warmer than the long-term average.
There were major floods in the North East and South of Scotland.

2009 is on course to be the 6th warmest and 3rd wettest year ever recorded for Scotland

Measure                Nov                2009         Comparison* Rating           Records start
Temperature        5.5°C             0.8°C        +                                              1914
Rainfall                 256.7mm      +55%        +++                                         1914
Sunshine             51.0hrs          +6%          ~                                              1929

*compared to 1971-2000 averages, +++ exceptionally above average; ++ well above average; + above average; ~ close to average; - below average; -- well below average

2009 is a crucial year for climate change with world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December to agree a new international climate deal that will come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012. The new Scottish Climate Change Act has set a strong international example of what is possible with a target of 42% reduction in emissions by 2020.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said:

“Scotland as whole had its wettest ever November. The South of Scotland had its wettest ever month, leading to devastating floods. Together with recent floods in the North East, this weather shows a glimpse of the kind of future we need to try to avoid. Rainfall has already increased significantly and the predictions are that it will increase by between 12 per cent and 21 per cent across Scotland by the 2080s if we don’t get a good deal on reducing emissions at Copenhagen. Combined with rising sea-level rises this could mean 3 times more flooding inland and 10 times more flooding at the coast.

“November was nearly a degree warmer than the average and every month in 2009 has been warmer than the long-term average. If December follows the pattern so far, 2009 would end up as the 6th warmest and 3rd sunniest and 3rd wettest year on record. The Met Office is already predicting that next year could be the hottest ever across the globe.

“The talks in Copenhagen this week and next will determine what kind of future climate we will live in, one rather like today or one devastated by floods, storms and droughts. As the many thousands of people who marched through Glasgow on Saturday showed, all around the world the public are demanding that their governments get serious about reducing climate change emissions and come back from Copenhagen with a strong climate deal.”

November was the wettest November ever recorded. October was a degree warmer than usual. It had average rainfall across Scotland but the North East was 50% wetter than usual. September was more than a degree warmer than the average. The month had lower than average rainfall but this conceals very heavy rain early in the month which caused floods in Elgin, Aberdeenshire and the Borders. 123.6mm (5 inches) of rain over 24 hours was recorded at Fochabers. August was the 3rd wettest August ever recorded and the joint wettest ever (with August 1985) in the west of Scotland. The average temperature was more than 0.5°C above the long-term average. The summer of 2009 was the 4th wettest summer ever, following 1985, 1948 and 1956. July was the 5th wettest July in the east of Scotland.

June 2009 was the 6th sunniest June ever recorded and finished with a very warm spell. May 2009 was the 6th wettest and 4th sunniest May ever recorded, and it was also the 9th sunniest month ever recorded, as well as being 0.6°C warmer than average. April was the 3rd warmest April in the records which go back to 1914 and it was also sunnier than average. March was the 5th sunniest ever recorded and a full degree warmer than the long-term average. The east of Scotland was 1.6° warmer than the average. The start of February was cold but temperatures picked up to allow the month to finish with an average temperature above the long-term average. January was the 3rd sunniest January in Scotland according to the records which began in 1929. Although it was cooler than in recent years it was still 0.1°C warmer than the long-term average.

Editor's notes

[1] WWF Scotland staff are attending the Copenhagen climate conference and are available for comment and interview.

[2] Data from the Met Office http://www.metoffice.com/climate/uk/2009/November.html
and http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/index.html with further analysis by WWF Scotland.

[3] The five warmest years since records began are 2006, 2003, 2007, 2004, 2005 (warmest first).

[4] WWF Scotland is part of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, an alliance of development, environment and civil society groups aiming for tougher action to reduce emissions http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland

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