Scotland enjoyed second sunniest year on record in 2018

The summer heatwave didn't mean more sunshine for everyone this year, with the Met Office revealing that parts of Scotland only enjoyed average hours of sun.

The agency said 2018 will be Scotland’s second sunniest year on record, after 1995, with 17 per cent more sunshine than average.

May was Scotland’s sunniest since records began in 1929 and also the equal warmest - with 2008 – with a mean temperature of 10.7C.

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However, while parts of the north and the Borders enjoyed more than 20 per cent more sun than average this year, in some areas there was no more sun than usual.

Edinburgh residents enjoy the sunshine in The Meadows. Picture; Jon SavageEdinburgh residents enjoy the sunshine in The Meadows. Picture; Jon Savage
Edinburgh residents enjoy the sunshine in The Meadows. Picture; Jon Savage

A map produced by the Met Office showed those losing out on extra sunshine included much of Fife and parts of southern Perthshire and East Lothian.

Most of Islay and an area of Mainland on Orkney also had only average amounts.

By contrast, the biggest winners were much of the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire, with more one-fifth more sun than average.

2018 sunshine2018 sunshine
2018 sunshine

Most of Shetland and the eastern Borders were among other areas to benefit.

Sunshine hours across Scotland totalled 1386.4 up to Thursday, behind 1995 with 1456.3.

The Met Office said high pressure through the long days of June and July contributed significantly to the total.

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However, despite the warm summer, Scotland’s average maximum temperature in 2018 was up just 0.56C at 11.25C – and only the 14th warmest since records began in 1910.

2018 temperature2018 temperature
2018 temperature
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Scotland records warmest May in more than 100 years

Glasgow hit a new record of 31.9C on 28 June – the country’s highest temperature of the year.

However, a new Scottish record of 33.2C in Motherwell that day was ruled invalid because a vehicle was parked with its engine running too close to the weather station.

The record of 32.9C was set at Greycrook, near St Boswells in the Borders, in 2003.

2018 rainfall2018 rainfall
2018 rainfall

The Met Office said Scotland’s average minimum temperature in 2018 was 4.4C - 0.26C above average.

The lowest temperature was -13.7C at Altnaharra in Sutherland on 21 January.

Precipitation, such as rain and snow, was 12 per cent below average at 1387.1mm.

The highest rainfall was 145.5mm at Glenfinnan in the Highlands on 8 October.

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The deepest snow recorded was 53cm at Leadhills in South Lanarkshire on 21 January.

December has been the dullest month, with only 28 hours of sunshine so far. January was the coldest, with an average of 3.2C.

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “We experienced some memorable extremes of hot and cold weather this year – the summer heatwave contrasted sharply with the freezing conditions during the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ in February and March.

“The early statistics for Scotland - up to yesterday - show overall it has been a mild and sunny year for many, but not record breaking.”

Dr McCarthy said 2018 could yet squeeze in to the top ten warmest years on record, but the figures were still too close to tell.

He added: “However, even if the last few days of December are cool enough to keep 2018 out of the all-time hottest top ten, the overall story for the year fits into the general warming trend we have seen in the century so far.”