SOARING temperatures have pushed 2014 into the record books as the warmest year the Lothians has ever seen.
The latest figures from the Met Office revealed that the East of Scotland has enjoyed the hottest year since records began in 1910 with an average temperature of 8.3C, while the nation as a whole saw an average temperature of 8.44C.
This year also heralded the warmest spring ever at 7.6C and the fifth warmest winter which saw grapes growing outdoors in December at one house in Stockbridge.
And daring Loony Dookers enjoyed an unusually warm New Year’s Day for their “freezing” swim in the Firth of Forth.
But warmer weather is not a cause of celebration, said Green councillor Chas Booth, who warned the rising mercury could lead to storms and higher winds.
Cllr Booth, who represents Leith, said: “For warmer temperatures also read wetter, windier and more unpredictable – all of which is bad news for everyone from farmers to people who depend on outdoor conditions for day to day work.
“And, it also means rising sea levels which, as a Leith councillor and resident, I’m naturally concerned about.”
Fighting climate change should start at home, with focus on supporting local businesses, tackling fuel poverty and making services more local, he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, who said the eight years since 2000 are in the top ten warmest since records began in 1910.
Dr Dixon 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.”
Dr Dixon said that despite “great ambitions” on climate change, Scotland faced tough choices ahead on meeting emissions targets and deciding whether to leave fossil fuels in the ground.
The region saw no record-breaking hot months in 2014, but temperatures remained consistently warm and August was the only month with below average temperatures.
The East of Scotland also enjoyed the eighth warmest February, the fourth warmest April, the fifth warmest June, the third warmest September and the third warmest November ever.
January, February, March and December were among the wettest months ever recorded.