The climate of Scotland
Scotland has a moderate sea climate (typer Cf) according to the KŲppen
climate classification. Scotland has relatively mild winters and
relatively warm summers with precipitation the whole year round.
Scotland has the reputation of being a wet country, this is partially
true. The Scottish Highlands are wet, gray and cold. Precipitation can
be expected 250 days per year on average. Snow falls 100 days a year.
Large parts of the Scottish Highlands are covered in snow throughout
the winter. The South Scottish Mountain Range covering virtually the
entire south is also fairly wet. During the winter snow falls on a
regular basis, but less frequently than in the Scottish Highlands. The
centrally located lowlands that range from Dumbarton and
the west to Edinburgh and Dunbar in the east is a little less wet than
the higher located regions.
The amount of precipitation doesnít only differ in
height; from east to west differences can be observed as well. Because
the majority of rain comes from the west the eastern part is much
drier. East of the Highlands and the South Scottish Mountain range you
will find that most of the rain has already fallen in the hills. Over
a distance of 150 kilometers at the same degree of latitude the amount
of precipitation per year may differ up to 2000 millimeters. The
wettest places in the Highlands can expect up to 3000 millimeters of
precipitation per year. Many cities along the coastline get 600-800
millimeters of precipitation per year. This is comparable to the
amount of precipitation in the Netherlands.
Climate information of places and areas in Scotland
The climate information on this page is only brief. Specific
information about weather and climate can be found on the climate
pages per area or town. As for Scotland the following climate
information is available:
Influence of the sea
The Atlantic Ocean has a lot of influence on Scotlandís climate
because of its location in the north western part of Europe. A large
part of the year a western air current is responsible for the flow of
moist and during the winter relatively warm air. Most of the
precipitation falls in the western part of Scotland. The warm sea
water supplied by the Gulf Stream is responsible for a warming effect
during the winter months. Winters would be much colder if this effect
didnít exist. During the winter temperatures are rather high for this
degree of latitude.
Scottish summers are too cold for a beach holiday. During the summer
in the centrally located lowlands temperatures are around 17-19
degrees Celsius on average. During warmer periods when a high pressure
area lies north or north east of Scotland temperatures may rise as
high as 30 degrees Celsius. However, these kinds of extremes are
uncommon. During the summer temperatures are usually between 22 and 25
degrees Celsius. In large cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow warmth
will stay longer which makes a visit to a terrace during the evening
still pleasant. In the Highlands and on the islands such as the
Hebrides and the Shetland Islands the climate is much colder during
the summer. During the warmest months of July and August temperatures
are around 10-16 degrees on average. Sometimes temperatures will rise
to a mere 20 degrees.
Foggy and gray
Scotland is often foggy which has several different causes. The fog in
the Highlands is often caused by a low cloud. Especially in
combination with drizzle this is a characteristic scene shown in
photographs of the Scottish mountains. During the autumn Scotland
often gets radiation fog. This is caused by the differences in
temperature between wet soil and air. Over a snowy surface this effect
can be seen on sunny days when a thin layer of fog hangs over the
ground. During late spring Scotland sometimes has fogbanks that come
from the sea. This is caused by differences in temperature between the
warm air over the cold sea water. Scotlandís climate is characterized
by many cloudy days. Depressions from sea, a less powerful sunshine
because of Scotlandís location and geographical circumstances are
responsible for many gray and dull days. Nature enjoys this type of
climate. This is why many parts of Scotland are brightly green when it
is not winter.
The depressions that come from the sea are responsible for heavy winds
in Scotland. In the higher regions in the northern parts of Scotland
fierce winds are not uncommon. Chances of storms are high. The south
western part of Scotland also gets a lot of wind. During the heaviest
storms force 10 or 11 is not uncommon. Sometimes even force 12 winds.
Hurricanes finding their origin in tropical depressions are uncommon.
The figures below are based on long term weather and climate
records and are an average for Scotland. Note that local deviations
may occur. The largest deviations are: more precipitation and lower
temperatures in the Highlands. More precipitation in the South
Scottish Mountain Range. Higher temperatures in the centrally located
lowlands en less precipitation along the eastern coastal areas.
More climate information
Climate figures are very useful but donít present a general impression
of the climate and the eventual weather circumstances within a certain
period. The figures donít always reflect the chance of wintry weather,
extreme heat or hurricanes. That is why we monthly offer useful extra
climate information. The information below is an average for Scotland.
Please visit the pages on individual climate information for other
places in Scotland.
The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. ďMore climate infoĒ is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, itís up to the reader to use it to itís benefit.