Why Scotland's latest weather forecast should terrify the world

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 30 December 2019 12:45

For winter sun, Brits are more likely to plump for locations further afield, like the Canary Islands, or Morocco.

But climate change may mean we’re soon staying put. A Scottish town has recorded a late December temperature of 16.8C – which is even hotter than the current temperature in Athens.

Sure, a warming planet may also mean all our eco-systems break down and places like South Yorkshire will be completely submerged but them's the breaks!

The worryingly high temperature was reached at 3am on the 29 December, in the town of Cassley, located in the north of Scotland.

What should the temperature be right now?

The average December temperature for that area, during the night, is around 0C.

But even though 16C may be… unprecedented, it’s still not a record.

That still belongs to the stonking 18.3C recorded in Achnashellach in the Scottish Highlands in 1948.

So what's the reason for this 'heatwave'?

Well there is a nice, scientific explanation at least.

Meterologists say this latest unusual hot spell is thanks to something called the “Foehn effect”.

It’s when one side of a mountain sees wet and cold conditions, while the other gets to bask in warmer and drier sunshine.

Sunday’s temperature was specifically due to air from Africa which lost its moisture as it rose up over the UK, leaving the Scottish town with drier, warmer air.

Oh, so it's fine... right?

Wrong! Despite the Foehn effect being well documented, it's still extremely rare (read: not good at all) to see this effect take place overnight, Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill told the BBC.

“Getting temperatures of 16 or 17 degrees in December isn’t all that unusual but it’s remarkable that this was during the night,” he said.

Perhaps substitute "remarkable" for "very, very worrying"?

Note for 2020: recycle. Everything.

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