Climate Change in Scotland
The overall impact of climate change on ecology and biodiversity
in Scotland is likely to be modest, with many species adapting to any
gradual environmental change. New species are likely to appear as their
ranges extend north from England into Scotland. However, some likely negative
- The area of salt marsh habitats may decrease as rising sea levels
swamp exisiting areas of salt marsh and close on sea defences. Such
a loss of salt marsh may have an impact on many brid species, including
large flocks of overwintering ducks, geese and wading birds.
- Mountain species are also likely to see a restriction in their ranges.
- Warmer temperatures will push the alpine range to ever higher altitudes,
will result in the loss of presistent snow patches, and will allow the
invasion of plant and animal species from lower altitudes.
- Mountain birds, such as the ptarmigan, dottereal and snow bunting
are likely to suffer as result of climate warming in Scotland. The reliance
of the snow bunting on snow as a habitat means that it may become extinct
- Sub-arctic willows and other arctic-alpine plant species are likely
to be lost.
- Maerl beds on the west coast are at increased risk of storm damage
and species ranges may change.
Forestry and Fisheries
- Increased average temperatures and an extended growing season may
allow the cultivation of a wider range of crops, including some more
valuable varieties than those currently suitable for the Scottish climate.
- Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, precipitation
and temperature may all help to increase growth rates and productivity
in Scottish forestry (Broadmeadow 2000).
- Possibly major impact on slamon and sea trout breeding and distribution
due to changing water temperatures and oceanic circulation.
- Structural damage resulting from severe storms and an increased incidence
of damp are likely.
- The number of dry days for building construction may be reduced by
- Heating bills may well fall as a result of warmer temperatures and
a shortened winter period.
- 2002 saw the first reported case of Lily Beetle in Scotland,
a garden pest spreading further north in the UK each year (RHS 2003).
- Scotland, as in all other UK regions, will come under increasing pressure
to accept economic migrants driven from their own countries as a direct
or indirect result of climate change.
- Human health may be affected by increased damp in housing, new pests
and diseases, and more rapid spread of existing diseases.
- More wet days may increase the number of road accidents, while more
frequent storm events could also increase casualty numbers.
Climate change is likely to have a very mixed impact
on Scotland's economy. Though agriculture and forestry may well benefit
from increased productivity and a wider scope for crop variety, the skiing
industry is likely to all but disappear. Some key impacts so far identified
- Loss of working days in construction and similar outdoor industries
due to increased rainfall.
- Increased cost of disease prevention due to introduction of new species
- Savings in fuel costs due to warmer temperatures.
- Increased spending on flood control and defence.
- Rising insurance costs for buildings in potential flood areas.
- Greater productivity for forestry and some types of agriculture.
- Greater costs in maintaining good water and sewerage services given
- Increased tourism due to increased number of warm summer days and
shorter winter season, though sport angling may be adversely affected.
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