Scotland's weather: Country experiences fourth mildest winter on record

Scotland experienced the fourth mildest winter since records began according to the Met Office.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 1:47 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:11 am
Extreme weather has still hit this winter. Picture; Ian Georgeson
Extreme weather has still hit this winter. Picture; Ian Georgeson


The UK as a whole experienced one of the ten mildest winters since records began more than 100 years ago, according to the Met Office.

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Normally winters are either cold and dry, or mild and wet.

But instead we have seen the unusual combination of dry and mild conditions over the last three months.

Experts say this is because of high pressure conditions over Scandinavia, which has acted as a “shield” over Europe.

Statistics varied across the UK, with Scotland experiencing the fourth mildest winter on record, and Northern Ireland the fifth mildest.

As a whole, the UK has had the ninth mildest winter since records began in 1910.

Although the winters of 2013/14 and 2015/16 were both milder, the crucial difference is they were also very wet and often stormy.

Weathermen define winter as the months of December, January and February.

Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: “This winter has been quite unusual because of the pattern.

“It has not been particularly stormy. We have had Storm Doris and Storm Ewan recently, but so far this winter we have not had anywhere near the number of storms we had last winter.

“What we have had this winter is quite unusual, in that we have had a relatively mild winter. But also a very dry one.

“To get a relatively mild, dry winter is climatically quite unusual.”

He added: “That is basically because we had high pressure over Scandinavia this winter.

“What the high pressure does is it tends to deflect any of the storms coming in from the Atlantic. It is almost like a shield, sitting over the UK and Europe.

“Which is why we have had relatively calmer conditions. Obviously we have had the odd storm that has broken through, but the pattern is we have had this relatively calm period of winter.”

The UK has also had about three quarters of the average rainfall, he added.

Northern Ireland has been the driest with 63.5 per cent of its average, while Scotland the highest with 82 per cent.

Climate Scientist Dr Mark McCarthy from the National Climate Information Centre said: “This winter has been dry for most of the UK. What is unusual is the combination of mild and dry conditions, as these factors do not usually go hand in hand in a typical UK winter.

“This is due to spells of high pressure bringing settled calm conditions being mixed in with depressions that have pulled warm air up from the south.”