Key Scottish Environment Statistics: 2002
Differences from long- term average ( 0oC)6
The ocean climate plays an integral and dynamic role in global weather patterns. Changes in ocean temperature may affect water circulation, including the North Atlantic Drift, with far-reaching implications for rainfall and water resources. The ecosystem is also at risk, and changes in the distribution and abundance of fish stocks and marine communities are predicted. This could have great socio-economic impacts for Scotland. Changes in ocean temperature could lead to the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet, followed by rising sea levels and flooding.
The figures show annual temperature differences compared to the period from the start of record to 1997 6. Trends in coastal water temperatures around Scotland show an uneven but definite rise of 1 oC since 1970. Warming seems to occur particularly in winter, leading to a reduced annual temperature range. At Fair Isle, Peterhead and Millport, the five hottest years on record have occurred since 1990, 1989 and 1975 respectively. The temperature increase is likely to be connected to patterns of larger scale changes over the North Atlantic as a whole 8.
SOURCES: UMBSM, FIMETI, SSE
The associated Scottish Environment Statistics Online website may contain more recent or revised data: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/envonline