Heatwave to washout – what happened to Scotland’s summer?

Scotland’s summer time of 2023 was a story of two extremes.

It began on an uncomfortably acquainted path – with local weather data being smashed.

However July and August turned a disappointing affair for Scotland, particularly for these searching for summer time heat.

A caught jet stream sample disadvantaged us of the sun-kissed afternoons many had hoped for.

The jet stream – a circulation of winds excessive up within the environment – usually helps steer climate techniques our manner.

However it could stay in a static sample, which means you’re usually left with the identical sort of climate for days and even weeks on finish.

It was this situation that helped quite a few heatwaves to develop throughout the close to continent whereas a lot of Scotland and the UK was left with the reverse – cool, moist days and a few unseasonably windy climate.

Flaming June

Meteorologically talking, summer time runs from 1 June to the tip of August.

The primary month of summer time started within the glare of a heat and dry finish to Might, serving to to stir up a Highland wildfire at Cannich, one of many greatest seen within the UK.

Wildfire at Cannich

The wildfire at Cannich was believed to be the most important recorded within the UK

Little greater than every week later, helicopter water bombing was employed for an additional wildfire, this time close to Daviot, south of Inverness.

As the warmth constructed and tinder dry vegetation burnt, heatwave situations ensued for giant swathes of Scotland.

On 12 June, a temperature of 30.7C was recorded in Threave, Dumfries and Galloway – making it the most well liked day of the yr up to now.

The canine days of summer time had effectively and really arrived.

General, Scotland and the UK recorded their hottest month of June on file, with some elements of Scotland seeing the imply temperature 2.5C increased than common.

10 days of rain in an hour

Because the summer time solstice approached, our climate began to take a special flip.

Torrential downpours introduced a deluge of water to the Nationwide Stadium at Hampden Park, as Scotland confronted Georgia in a European qualifier on 20 June.

The extreme storms led to 10 days of rain within the house of an hour, with stadium workers resorting to picket brooms, whereas attempting to comb the torrents of water swimming on the pitch.

Pitch staff clearing the water

Pitch workers used brooms to clear the waterlogged pitch on the Scotland sport in opposition to Georgia

It was maybe a becoming premonition for the approaching month of July, which noticed Scotland file 50% extra rain than regular because the jet stream misplaced its manner, turned caught and delivered disappointing summer time climate right here – whereas different elements of Europe started to bake in unfailing warmth.

Temperatures on the continent soared previous 40C, with forecasters calling on Greek Mythology to coin one heatwave Cerberus, a three-headed hellhound that guards the gates of the underworld.

A person cools off at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy, on 18 July 2023

An individual cools off on the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy, on 18 July 2023

With the jet stream caught stubbornly to our south, we remained within the firing line of low strain.

System after system barrelled by off the Atlantic – retaining issues cool and infrequently moist.

At occasions it was additionally excessive; extreme situations led to the cancellation of the Tiree Music Pageant, as heavy rain and excessive winds pressured a whole lot of festival-goers to desert tents and journey plans, with many given shelter in islanders’ houses and native halls.

Mid-month, heavy rain and thunderstorms introduced a conventional muddy competition flavour to Glasgow’s TRNSMT too.


Why does it all the time rain on me: followers donned rain ponchos at TRNSMT

Whereas a lot of July was unsettled, a window of alternative rolled in to Shetland because the Tall Ships competition acquired below manner, with sunshine and blue skies.

Regardless of the moist and funky July, by this stage Summer season 2023 was nonetheless hotter than regular as a result of June had been so excessive.

Europe baked in a warmth dome

August arrived with the audacity of hope that solely a British summer time can convey, however any longings for a change in climate had been regularly dashed.

As successive heatwaves in Europe continued, the climate right here was something however sunny.

Mediterranean international locations skilled their second warmth dome of summer time – an excessive climate phenomenon that developed partially as a result of caught climate patterns – permitting warmth to construct day on day.

The flipside was that a lot of Scotland and the UK remained cool and moist below a cloche of disappointment.

Over the last month of summer time, our climate right here in Scotland was usually changeable. Not simply everyday, however usually hour to hour – as opponents within the UCI World Biking Championships discovered early within the month.

Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel succumbed to the soaking moist roads and subsequent slippery situations with a nasty crash that broke his shoe and ripped his jersey.

He recovered and was finally victorious within the Elite Males’s highway race.

Mathieu van der Poel cycling in the rain in Glasgow

Mathieu van der Poel succumbed to the soaking moist roads and subsequent slippery situations with a nasty crash

And after a quiet storm season throughout autumn and winter, this summer time truly introduced us two named storms: Antoni and Betty.

While Antoni had extra vital impacts elsewhere within the UK, Betty introduced Yellow rain warnings to Scotland, together with gales.

And the Scottish Setting Safety Company (Sepa) issued 9 flood alerts.

It was solely the second time since 2015 that the UK has seen two named storms in August.

The unsettled climate continued by August, and we’ll get the official climate stats for the month – and the entire summer time – on Friday.

Analysis box by Kevin Keane, BBC Scotland environment correspondent

Evaluation field by Kevin Keane, BBC Scotland setting correspondent

‘A preview of what’s to come back’

Summer season 2023 has been an interesting foretaste of a future below a altering local weather.

A major affect on the unseasonable situations has been the El NiƱo impact; a hotter sea temperature which sends the thermometers hovering.

Whereas that phenomena is cyclical, its affect this yr – mixed with the consequences of local weather change – has demonstrated what a distinction is made by just a few fractions of a level.

It has been a preview of what’s to come back.

Whereas governments the world over are grappling with lower emissions of greenhouse gases, the warming local weather is already baked in.

If we had been to get rid of emissions tomorrow, the planet would proceed warming for at the very least the subsequent century.

So a twin focus has to even be on getting ready for the affect of extra extreme storms, larger wildfires and droughts.

Precisely what we have been seeing in Scotland this yr however worse.

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