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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 Glasgow in 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:

Fort William
Loch Ness
Orkney Islands
Scottish Highlands
Shetland Islands

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.

Cold summers
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.


Climate figures
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.

temperature (įC)


temperature (įC)
hours of sunshine

average days with precipitation
per month
per month
temperature (įC)
January 3 -3 1 23 8
February 5 -3 1 18 7
March 7 -1 2 21 7
April 10 2 4 19 8
May 14 5 6 17 10
June 17 7 6 16 12
July 18 9 5 17 13
August 17 10 5 19 14
September 14 7 4 22 14
October 10 4 2 23 12
November 6 0 1 22 10
December 4 -1 1 21 9
= 0-5 mm ● = 6-30 mm ● = 31-60 mm ● = 61-100 mm ● = 101-200 mm ● = over 200 mm

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.

chance of
(very) hot


chance of
(very) cool
chance of

chance of
chance of
sunny days


click here for the explanation of the symbols


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.


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