In series of blog articles guest blogger Jim Densham – Senior Land Use Policy Officer at RSPB Scotland – outlines the Climate issues affecting Scotland.

 

Have you noticed the weather?

 

We live in Scotland – who hasn’t noticed the weather! But, it does seem to be more unpredictable and out of sorts. November was one of the second warmest on record, with an average temperature of 9.7°C in Scotland, and who knows if we will get another cold winter.

 

Although one warm November doesn’t make a changing climate, the long-term trends show that since 1914 Scotland has become 0.5oC warmer with much quicker warming since 1961. In the past 50 years the growing season has been extended by 4 weeks and we have less days of snow cover, especially in the autumn. There are less days of frost and more winter rain but alas, no upward trend in days of sunshine!

 

Nature seems to be reacting in odd ways, even this past month - daffodils blooming and ducklings hatching. But these are oddities and more worrying are the year on year changes we now see, such as warmer seas affecting the food chain of seabirds, birds hatching out of sync with the availability of insect food, butterflies moving north, changes to the migration patterns of geese.

 

Many of my reserves-based colleagues work in some of Scotland’s best places for wildlife and are seeing how wildlife and birds are coping, or not. It’s not always so easy to pin the reason for things like bird breeding failures or severe storms on climate change but is it to blame? More next time.