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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 18:59 GMT
Weather 'a taste of things to come'
By Louise Batchelor
BBC Scotland Environment Correspondent

2007 was the third warmest year ever recorded in Scotland, according to figures from the Met Office.

Glencoe Ski Centre
Glencoe Ski Centre was among those suffering from a lack of snow

It was also very wet. Summer vanished as the rain poured down, exceeding average amounts for the time of year.

BBC Scotland recorded all the unexpected twists and turns, from swimming in Aberdeen in an exceptionally mild January to soaking up the sunshine in April.

After that, many places suffered a washout, until sunnier weather returned in the autumn.

The year ended with a December full of contrasts.

Mean temperatures were slightly below average across parts of eastern Scotland while parts of northern Scotland saw over double the average amount of sunshine.

2007 saw considerable disruption in Scotland as a result of the weather and is a taste of things to come in the next few decades
Dan Barlow
WWF Scotland

Aberdeenshire was shivering as the temperature in Aboyne plunged to -13C just before Christmas.

In many city centres no-one was taking chances with unpredictable weather over the festive season.

Artificial skating rinks attracted good crowds. But Scotland's ski centres were holding their breath.

By mid December, Glencoe, undergoing a change in management, was desperate for wintry conditions to get them off to a good start.

But if conditions looked pretty desperate then, there has been a rapid improvement with plenty of snow for them and for all of Scotland's ski resorts this month.

Biggest threat

Despite the dry cold weather in places towards the end of 2007 it completed a run of warmer than average years.

In fact, the five warmest years since records began in 1914 were the last five. Spring in 2007 was the 2nd warmest ever recorded here, beaten only by 2003.

Dr Dan Barlow, acting director of WWF Scotland said: "Trends show continuing increases in annual average temperatures.

Skier at Glenshee Ski Centre. Pic by Kevin Thomson, from Inverness
The snow finally arrived in January. Pic by Kevin Thomson, from Inverness

"The changes in our weather patterns that we are witnessing are in line with scientists' predictions that Scotland will become warmer and wetter.

"2007 saw considerable disruption in Scotland as a result of the weather and is a taste of things to come in the next few decades.

"Climate change is a growing reality, and as the biggest threat we face, we need to step up action if we are to avert the threat it poses.

"2007 was the year that the world's governments agreed a way forward for international action on climate change and both the UK and Scottish governments promised Climate Change Bills to help tackle this threat."

So what will 2008 bring? The Met Office says it is set to be slightly cooler, globally, than recent years but despite that it is still forecast to be one of the top ten warmest years.


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