When will the weather improve? Why the Scottish summer has been disappointing and if it's going to change

Nice weather appears to have gone on holiday from Scotland this summer.

For many Scottish people, the summer weather hasn’t felt particularly seasonal this year.

There were brief spots of summer in Scotland last month, but the weather has hardly improved at the start of July.

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On Election Day, many Scottish voters were advised to keep their cagoules close to hand for their trip to the polling station with frequent heavy showers and wind making many wish they didn’t have to step outside at all.

While the summer has so far been disappointing, Scotland has actually had some nice weather this year.

The Scottish weather was kind to Taylor Swift fans for the star’s Edinburgh shows in June. The Scottish weather was kind to Taylor Swift fans for the star’s Edinburgh shows in June.
The Scottish weather was kind to Taylor Swift fans for the star’s Edinburgh shows in June.

The UK had its warmest May on record, according to the Met Office, with an average temperature of 13.1°C - this beats out the previous record figure of 12.1°C from 2008.

In addition, on average Scotland also saw much less rainfall than countries such as England and Wales during May.

However, by the start of June some areas of the country experienced snowfall meaning that even in spite of some nicer days, it was an overall cooler month.

Why has the Scottish summer been so bad?

There is one reason why the summer weather in Scotland has been so varied: the jet stream.

A jet stream is a fast-flowing current of air about 5 to 7 miles above the surface of Earth which shapes impacts wind and pressure closer around the globe.

Typically blowing from west to east, Scotland is often under or on the cooler side of the jet which is why the country has been experiencing periods of unsettled weather.

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In the short term, the Met Office have predicted that temperatures are likely to be a little below average in the country for the time of year as a result of the position of the jet stream.

Speaking to the official Met Office blog, deputy chief meteorologist David Hayter said: “In recent weeks, the jet stream has been either directed towards the UK, or shifted further south, which has predominantly brought cooler air over the UK, with frequent incursions of some unseasonable winds and rain.

A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for parts of Scotland this week, which will bring with it potential disruption including the risk of flooding and road closures. A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for parts of Scotland this week, which will bring with it potential disruption including the risk of flooding and road closures.
A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for parts of Scotland this week, which will bring with it potential disruption including the risk of flooding and road closures. | Met Office

“For warm weather in the UK in summer, you’d tend to see the jet stream shifted further north, which allows the possibility of warmer air to drift over the UK from the south, though this isn’t always the case.

“Unfortunately for those who like the warmth, we have only had brief periods where this pattern has been present in summer so far.”

In addition, a yellow weather warning for rain has been issued across northern Scotland. Beginning late on Tuesday evening and covering most of Wednesday, residents in areas including the Highlands, Grampian and Angus have been warned of possible disruption such as power cuts and flooding.

Later in the week, Scotland should see some minor improvements to the weather - though don’t expect temperatures to increase too much. Despite some sunny spells, it is still likely to be slightly below average with rain and showers depending on where you are.

When will the weather improve?

If you’re wondering if the Scottish weather will hit “taps aff” temperatures this summer, it doesn’t seem likely any time soon.

There may be brief improvements in the near future but despite emerging signs of a more settled period, long-range weather forecasts are less likely to be accurate - something Hayter highlighted.

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He said: “While there’s much uncertainty in the forecast at this range, there are some subtle signs of a more settled spell possibly developing, at least for a time, in the second half of July. It’s far too early to give any details on how this could develop, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest forecast. There also remains an ongoing chance of unsettled periods of weather and much will depend on the dominant conditions day-to-day as the forecast takes shape.”

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