The Moray Firth is famous for its relatively benign climate. Located at a latitude of 57o, to the east of the mountain ranges of the Scottish highlands, it is in the rain shadow of the prevailing westerly winds, giving less rain and more sunshine hours than much of the rest of Scotland. The temperature range is between 1-18oC, and the annual rainfall is 660mm.
Climate change is an important issue for the future. As a coastal area with many coastal communities, the Moray Firth is potentially vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events causing coastal erosion and flooding. The impacts on the habitats and species of the Firth are also potentially damaging, including the effects of rising sea temperatures on fish and marine ecosystems.
Climate change predictions from the Met Office are that by 2050, if carbon emissions continue at their current rate, the average summer temperature in this area will be at least 2oC higher, and winter 1.7oC. Summer rainfall will decrease by 12% and winter rainfall will increase by 10%. The sea level rise by 2050 is predicted to be 14cms. These figures will continue to increase over time and will have huge implications for the area and its environment.
Work is beginning to get underway to look at the measure that will be needed in the Moray Firth to adapt to these changes.