Publication - Advice and guidance

Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN)

Last updated: 8 Sep 2021 - see all updates
Published: 5 Aug 2020

Research to improve our understanding of river temperature.

Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN)
Outputs and tools

Outputs and tools

Information leaflets

SRTMN provides a quality controlled and centrally stored dataset from which to assess the status of Scottish rivers and provide management advice.

The summer of 2018 was the hottest recorded summer in Scotland. Climate change projections suggest similar conditions could occur every other year by 2050. This leaflet identifies how temperatures varied around Scotland and the potential consequences for Atlantic salmon.

Summer 2018 river temperatures (download PDF)

Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN) 

Where should we plant trees to protect rivers from high water temperatures? 

View SRTMN summary data with interactive mapping

This interactive R Shiny Application allows data from SRTMN and the UK Upland Water Monitoring Network to be mapped and explored. It is possible to plot summary temperature metrics such as maximum or mean temperatures, or ecologically relevant summaries e.g. number of days where temperature exceeds the critical threshold for thermal stress in a particular species. The summary data can be mapped at national or catchment scales and plots, maps or associated processed data can be exported from the application.

Interactive mapping tools

Data and analyses from SRTMN have been used to produce a variety of spatial data layers to support management decisions, in particular riparian tree planting to reduce maximum summer river temperatures. Overtime these materials have been extended and thus this page provides a description of:

  1. The currently recommended tool for prioritising tree planting:  Riparian Woodland Prioritisation Scores for Scotland
  2. Information on earlier spatial data layers that supported development of the latest prioritisation scores.
  3. Instructions on how to use these tools on NMPI and as WMS layers

Riparian Woodland Prioritisation Scores for Scotland

It is important that riparian tree planting is prioritised to areas where it can have greatest benefits for river temperature, specifically, where rivers are (1) hottest (2) most sensitive to climate change and (3) can be effectively cooled by riparian woodland. These three individual criteria can be combined with an equal weight to provide a single riparian woodland prioritisation score that looks to maximise the benefits of riparian tree planting for protecting Scotland’s rivers from the adverse effects of high summer river temperatures under climate change.  Full details of the layers are available. 

Given that a number of tree planting configurations are possible for each river reach (southerly banks, northerly banks, both banks) and the desire to scale results both nationally and locally six prioritisation scoring layers have been released on Marine Scotland Maps NMPi:

  1. Nationally scaled tree planting prioritisation score where trees are planted on both banks
  2. Nationally scaled tree planting prioritisation score where trees are planted on only the most southerly bank
  3. Nationally scaled tree planting prioritisation score where trees are planted on only the most northerly bank
  4. Locally scaled tree planting prioritisation score where trees are planted on both banks
  5. Locally scaled tree planting prioritisation score where trees are planted on only the southerly bank
  6. Locally scaled tree planting prioritisation score where trees are planted on only the northerly bank

Riparian woodland prioritisation scores are on a scale of 1- 20, where 1 is low priority (low temperature, weak sensitivity to climate change and only a small reduction in temperature gained from planting trees) and 20 is high priority (high temperature, strong sensitivity to climate and a large expected reduction in temperature where trees are planted).

Scores are consistent and can be compared across bank configurations for a given section of river. However, regionally scaled scores cannot be compared directly between other regions (Hydrometric areas) or with the national scores due to localised rescaling.

Supporting layers

Planting potential

The effects of riparian woodland on the receipt of solar radiation depends on complex interactions between channel width, orientation, aspect, gradient, tree height and solar geometry.  Subsequent effects on river temperature are strongly influenced by water volume and residence time which can be broadly characterised by river order. Produced in 2021, these layers identify where maximum summer river temperatures can be reduced through riparian shading in Scotland. Full details of the layers are available.

The outputs of this work are illustrated as three layers on Marine Scotland Maps NMPi:

  1. Prioritisation where both banks can be planted
  2. Prioritisation where only north  banks can be planted
  3. Prioritisation where only south  banks can be planted

The rankings and colour scales run from 0- 10, with 0 being low priority (no temperature reduction) and 10 high priority (large temperature reduction).

Maximum temperature and climate sensitivity layers

Produced in 2017 these interactive maps of river temperature and climate sensitivity provided tools for river managers to plan and prioritise riparian planting when combined with an understanding of where trees can reduce temperatures.

Full details and description of the mapping tools are available, however in brief these layers include:

  1. SRTMN – Predictions of maximum daily river temperatures for the hottest day between July 2015 and June 2016
  2. SRTMN – Predictions of maximum daily river temperatures for the hottest year in the last 20 years (2003)
  3. SRTMN – Predictions of the change in river temperature that would result from a 1°C increase in air temperature
  4. SRTMN - Management priority on a scale of 1:9 where 1 is highest priority (i.e. high river temperature and high climate sensitivity) and 9 is lowest

Using NMPI

The National Marine Plan Interactive (NMPI) is an online interactive tool that allows you to browse spatial data layers, generate maps and save them as images. This is particularly useful if you want to make use of the numerous layers available on NMPI (including detailed background mapping) or if do not have access to your own GIS.

You open layers of interest within NMPi by clicking on ‘Access this map on NMPi’ in the ‘Links and Resources’ table at the bottom of the page.

To select multiple layers within NMPi click on the ‘View Layers to Add/Remove’ button within the Layer Control box (first left hand box). Click on the + button to expand the layer grouping and click on the left hand boxes to select a layer (a green tick will appear). Note that all of the SRTMN layers can be found under Climate Change / Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN).  Further instructions on how to use NMPi are available.

Using Web Based Mapping Service (WMS)

A ‘Web-based mapping service’ (WMS) allows you to load georeferenced images into your own GIS environment, via the internet. SRTMN layers have been made available as WMS layers so that different river temperature descriptors can be overlain with other spatial datasets and queried within the users own GIS.

WMS layers can be found for riparian woodland prioritisation scores, planting potential and maximum temperature and climate sensitivity. The ‘WMS’ icon on the left hand side of the ‘Download and links’ table, can be used to identify layers that are available as a WMS.

To add the WMS into your own GIS you would do on of the following:

For ArcGIS: Open to ‘Catalog Window’; expand ‘GIS Servers’ and double click ‘Add WMS Server’. Next copy and paste the WMS link for the layer of interest (found via the links above) into the ‘URL’ box. Click ‘Ok’. The WMS layers of interest can then be dragged into the ArcGIS table of contents.

For the riparian woodland prioritisation score layers the default layer is ‘nationally-scaled, both banks’. ArcGIS may ask if you want to save the legend image.  You can ‘save’ or ‘cancel’. In the layer properties, go to style and select the layer you want to view.

For QGIS: Click ‘Layer’; ‘Add WMS/WMTS Layer’ and click ‘New’. Next copy and paste the WMS link for the layer of interest (found via the link above) into the ‘URL’ box. Click ‘Ok’. Click ‘Connect’. Select the ‘Image Encoding’ of your choice and click ‘Add’. The layer will now be added in your QGIS Canvas.

For the riparian woodland prioritisation score layers click the expand arrow next to the layer. The list of styles is shown. Select the style you want to view and click ‘Add’.

For R: It is also possible to load WMS layers into R using either ‘ Leaflet’ and the ‘addWMSTilesor’ function or by running R alongside GRASS and using the ‘r.in.wms’ function


First published: 5 Aug 2020 Last updated: 8 Sep 2021 -