Our ever-changing weather in Scotland impacts on our lives at many different levels. On a daily basis it can affect choices we make about whether to walk or take the car, what clothes we wear and whether outdoor events and pursuits are likely to get glorious sunshine or be rained off.
It also has more serious implications, with dampness in homes blighting public health and high numbers of vulnerable people dying from the cold. A heatwave during the summer can boost sales for companies selling drinks and ice-cream whilst a mild winter can have a disastrous impact on the ski industry. Concerns about the weather can also impact on lifestyle, careers and emigration as many vote with their feet and head off to sunnier climes.
Weather is also an important concern for those involved with emergency planning and civil contingencies. Should Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh go ahead despite strong winds? Should staffing levels in hospitals be increased during icy weather to account for injuries caused by slips? Should millions of pounds be spent on improving flood defences for a given location?
Most scientists are predicting that climate change will result in more severe weather. Should these predictions prove accurate then weather is likely to have an even greater impact on our lives in the decades ahead.
Visit the Ready for Emergencies website for resources on severe weather and flooding to help you explore this issue further.