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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 00:20 GMT 01:20 UK
Challenging times for forecaster
By Heather Reid
BBC Scotland weather forecaster

I've been involved with weather forecasting for almost 15 years.

Heather Reid

During those 15 years, climate change has become one of the most important challenges facing modern society.

For me, it all started when I joined BBC Scotland in 1994.

December brought heavy rain and severe flooding to western parts of Scotland.

Paisley, my home town, was very badly hit with record breaking amounts of rainfall.

The weather settled down for the next few months but then we had "the summer of 1995".

Record high temperatures and prolonged heatwaves made international news.

Global warming and its impacts have dominated my career as a weather forecaster

I remember speaking to reporters from Australia, Canada and Scandinavia about tarmac melting on some Highland roads.

About the same time, global warming was beginning to hit the headlines and the whole climate change debate had started.

Since then, global warming and its' impact has dominated my career as a weather forecaster.

For example, during the past 15 years we have seen an increase in the number of severe weather events across Scotland.

This links closely with climate change theories which predict not only higher temperatures, but an increase in storminess across the UK.

Thermometer showing high temperature
Scotland has seen some record temperatures

Winter months have become dominated by numerous low pressure systems.

The old weather pattern of occasional "blocking highs", when high pressure brought a spell of settled, cold and frosty weather, appears to be in the past.

Consequently we are now breaking weather records on a regular basis.

When I started work at Glasgow Weather Centre, breaking a weather record was an exciting and unusual event.

Many records had stood for 50 years or longer.

Today, I'm often reporting several broken records each month.

The effects of climate change are already influencing Scotland's weather and undoubtedly creating major challenges for all of us in the future.




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