Consideration of climatic factors within Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Guidance on the consideration of climatic factors within Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), developed by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).


4.1 Figure 3 below sets out some observed patterns of climatic change in Scotland from 1961 to 2004 6 .

Recorded change in Scottish climate between 1961 and 2004


Temperatures have risen in every season in Scotland.


Scotland had become 20% wetter by 2004, with an increase of almost 70% in precipitation in northern Scotland. Heavy rainfall events have increased significantly in winter, particularly in northern and western regions.

Snow cover

The snow season has shortened across the country, with the season starting later and finishing earlier in the year. The greatest reductions have occurred in northern and western Scotland.

Growing season

The growing season has increased significantly, with the greatest change occurring at the beginning of the season.

Days of frost

There has been more than 25% reduction in the number of days of frost (both air and ground frost) across the country.

Sea level

Changes in sea levels around Scotland vary. All mainland gauges have recorded a rise over the last 100 years but in Shetland there has been a decrease since 1957.

Figure 3 - Observed trends in climate from 1961 to 2004

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