LAST year was the warmest ever recorded in Scotland, according to new Met Office figures.
The average temperature for the year was 8.44C, beating the previous warmest year, 2006, which had an average of 8.23C.
Friends of the Earth Scotland said the latest data from the Met Office showed eight of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. They added that the latest figures were “not good news”.
In records going back to 1910, last year saw the warmest spring and third-warmest autumn. All but one month in 2014, which was also the warmest year globally, proved hotter than the long-term averages.
Across the UK, it was the warmest year on record for all countries and regions apart from Northern Ireland, which had its third warmest year behind 2007 and 2006, the figures show.
Met Office spokeswoman Laura Young said that while no single month had been well in excess of the average temperatures, a warmer-than-average winter had helped to push 2014 into the record books.
She said: “None of the months have been exceptionally warm in Scotland, but there have been consistently warmer-than-average months, except for August, for the entire year.
“This has included overnight minimum temperatures, which were also very warm, because usually that’s what drags average temperatures down, particularly in Scotland.”
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Ms Young said there were parts of Scotland where the overnight temperatures were warmer than the daytime ones the next day.
She added: “So there’s no single cause for this, but during January into March we had a westerly flow of much milder weather coming across the Atlantic, which brought with it a lot of stormy weather and rain – though compared with England and Wales, Scotland escaped with comparatively little in the way of bad weather.
“Then, generally, over the course of the year, it’s continued along that average.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Scotland’s weather is showing a very clear long-term trend of increasing temperatures, just as climate change scientists predict.
“A warming Scotland isn’t good news. Increasing temperatures will lead to more unpredictable and extreme weather events both at home and around the world.
“The consequences for us in Scotland are more flooding, storms and droughts. We should heed the warnings the weather is giving us because things will get much worse if the world continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate.
“Scotland has great ambitions on reducing climate emissions, but we need to do more in housing, transport and agriculture to meet our own targets, and start to make some tough decision about leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said the record temperatures in 2014 were “part of a pattern”, with most of the hottest and wettest years occurring since 2000.
“This is clear evidence of the impact of man-made climate change on the UK,” he said.
“However, the latest assessment by the independent Committee on Climate Change shows that the UK public is largely unaware of how climate change is affecting their exposure and vulnerability to extreme weather events. The lack of awareness of the UK public of how climate change is already affecting them represents a colossal failure by the government and its agencies, including the Environment Agency and the Met Office, to communicate with the public about this issue.”
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