March was exceptionally cold and dry, being the was the 5th coldest and 6th driest March on record

March statistics:

Average Temperature: 1.3°C which is 2.6°C below the long-term average (1971-2000) and the 5th coldest March on recordAverage Rainfall: 49.5mm, which is only 36% of the long-term average and the 6th driest March on recordAverage Sunshine: 87.9hrs, which is close to the long-term average

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Despite some periods of heavy snow there was actually much less rain and snow than average for March. Climate change is making our weather ever more unpredictable, with the shifting jet stream flipping us from warm to cold through the month. While we were shivering over Easter, on the other side of the Atlantic the US was suffering droughts and record high temperatures.

“Scotland has a great Climate Act and really tough climate targets, but we missed the first target in 2010 and probably just scraped through the 2011 target. The Scottish Government is currently putting the final touches to the plan which should show how we will meet the targets between now and 2027.

“Even if every policy delivers as planned, every proposal is turned into a firm policy on time and delivers fully and Europe tightens up its own emissions targets, we will only just scrape through on the targets. There is no slack built in. If anything at all goes wrong Scotland will miss multiple targets, with the key 42% reduction by 2020 being one of the most vulnerable. The Government needs to turn more proposals into policies and to add more wiggle room so we can really meet our targets.”

The year so far

January was slighty warmer and drier than average but not very sunny. February was the 4th sunniest February on record and was cool and dry.


Notes to Editors

1. Data from the Met Office http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/datasets/index.html with further analysis by Friends of the Earth Scotland.

2. FoE Scotland are encouraging people to email their MSPs and ask them to strengthen Scotland’s climate plan as it goes through Parliament 

3. The five warmest years since records began are 2006, 2003, 2007, 2004, 2005 (warmest first).

4. FoE Scotland is part of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, an alliance of development, environment and civil society groups aiming for tougher action to reduce emissions