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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Questions over missing summer sun
By Louise Batchelor
BBC Scotland Environment Correspondent

September has given some of us a brief respite from the washout of a summer.

Storm clouds
The Met Office said this summer was the fifth wettest on record

But it may not be enough to make up for the previous months.

August completed a trilogy of wet and miserable months in Scotland.

In fact this summer was our fifth wettest on record.

According to the Met Office, rainfall across parts of North West Scotland was 150% above average while sunshine across Scotland was below average - in some places, well below - leading to some unseasonal temperatures.

At Tulloch Bridge in the Highlands -0.9C was recorded on 20 August.

So, whatever happened to global warming?

The experts say 2007 is still up there in the top half dozen warmest years on record.

But they point out that there will always be variations.

Overall 2007 is heading to be one of the warmest and wettest years ever recorded
Richard Dixon
WWF Scotland

The main reason this summer has been so poor is that the jet stream, a band of very strong winds in the upper atmosphere, has been further south and stronger than usual.

The jet stream controls our weather systems and the effect of it being further south has been to bring more depressions than normal across the UK.

They've also been stronger than usual - meaning more intense rain, while in southern Europe, as we've seen, they've had some very high temperatures and widespread fires.

Unsettled summer

The Met Office say that, although the summer's been very unsettled, temperatures over the UK have been near or above the long term average, which is likely to be a response to the warmer surrounding ocean.

They say: "The air in summer is warmer than at other times of the year, and it can hold more water vapour - combined with affect of the stronger jet stream, that may be the reason for the heavy rain we've experienced."

Clouds over Tolsta Beach, Isle of Lewis. Pic courtesy of Angus Chisholm
The warmer ocean has kept temperatures up

WWF Scotland keeps a close eye on climate change.

Their director Richard Dixon says: "Overall 2007 is heading to be one of the warmest and wettest years ever recorded, which is exactly what scientists predict for the future of Scotland.

"It's depressing to think that the average summer in the future is going to be more like the dull, damp 2007 than the scorcher we had in 2004."

We're looking for your help to record Scotland's weather in video and still images.

Among the images we have received so far, are a number of pictures of tornadoes which appeared across Scotland at the end of June and beginning of July.

We have also been sent pictures of unusual happenings, such as a butterfly being seen in Moray which would not normally venture so far north and a blaeberry ripening early in Inverness-shire.

You can see clips of film showing some of the examples mentioned earlier by clicking on the "Watch" links on the right of this page.

Send us your pictures and video footage by clicking here to send an email.


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