Scotland has a temperate climate with four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
In Scotland we are often frustrated by the ever-changing weather conditions but the positive side is that our temperate climate tends to produce milder and safer climatic conditions than other climate zones where hurricanes and severe floods and droughts can be regular occurrences.
PowerPoint presentation illustrating Scotland's temperate climate.
Scotland’s climate is warmed by the Gulf Stream. This is a current of warm water that moves from the Gulf of Mexico across the Atlantic Ocean towards Great Britain and is just one part of a huge global oceanic circulation. The Gulf Stream warms the air above it and protects us from extremes of temperature that affect other regions on the same northerly latitude as Scotland - such as Hudson's Bay in North America where the sea freezes in winter.
Average maximum temperatures in Scotland vary between
Rainfall totals vary enormously across Scotland with the western highlands being one of the wettest places in Europe with an average annual rainfall of 4577mm. The east coast tends to be much drier with some parts receiving only 550mm of rain - putting it on a par with Morocco, Sydney and Barcelona.
Recently published research from the Institute of Physics shows that although overall Scotland is not much wetter than it was 63 years ago, the way it rains has changed. When it rains it is much more intense.
Annual average sunshine totals vary from as little as 711-1140 hours in the highlands and the north-west, up to 1471-1540 hours on the extreme eastern and south-western coasts.