How warm has it been up there?
Scotland recorded the highest temperature seen anywhere in the British Isles in all of August on Wednesday when the village of Tyndrum in the Highlands recorded 27.2C after a sizzling week of summer weather.
What’s more, the UK Met Office says Scotland can expect another 10-day stretch of sunny weather going forward, with temperatures remaining in the mid-to-low twenties in the northwest and west.
“It’s very rare in this country that the 10-day forecast is as straight as this,” said Met Office forecaster Aiden McGivern. “High pressure, not much rain, some sunny spells and around average temperatures for this time of year.
“There will be some warmth around, especially in the north west. Wednesday is likely to be the peak of the warm weather. That leads us into the weekend with the cooler air flow coming in from east and north east. But it will always be cooler in the east and warmer in the north west.”
McGivern attributed the uncharacteristically balmy conditions to a “rare” high pressure front sitting over Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“It’s shaped like the Greek letter Omega, rising over the UK,” he explained. “This is called an Omega block and it blocks unsettled weather and it blocks progression.”
The Omega block is essentially loitering over central Scotland and driving away stormy weather fronts drifting in from the Atlantic, so that they skirt around its northern coasts towards Scandinavia and northern Europe, almost as if in a defensive manoeuvre.
The Met Office has meanwhile said in a statement that Scotland’s mean temperature so far this summer has been 13.8C, which it considered “notably warm”.
Western Scotland has also experienced less rain than average, recording just 62 per cent of its average rainfall for the season at 188.1mm, while Wales has seen 66 per cent less than average.
Northern Ireland has also been enjoying a more sweltering summer than usual, recording a mean temperature of 15C and its all-time highest temperature in July when the mercury hit 31.4C in Armagh.
That is not to say it has all been ice creams and suntan lotion north of the border.
One of The Independent’s Edinburgh-based correspondents reminds us that the Scottish capital was hit by a half a month’s rainfall in one hour in July - with flash flooding also striking Glasgow - and complains of “multiple days of very chilly sea mist engulfing the town”.
What about England?
By contrast, Scotland’s southern neighbour has suffered one of the dreariest August’s in living memory, grey and overcast in the south and July’s heatwave long forgotten.
“This summer has certainly been unremarkable and pretty bland. It’s not going to be remembered for warmth,” Met forecaster Steven Keates told The Sun.
London has been particularly dismal, suffering 220.2mm of rain over the summer months - or 48 per cent more rainfall than the long-term average for the season - resulting in flash flooding, the forced closure of several Tube stations and some extraordinary footage uploaded to social media.
Hampshire endured 245.2mm or 49 per cent more than average, according to the Met Office’s data, while Surrey saw 240.3mm or a 54 increase and West Sussex 250.9mm or 52 per cent more than usual.
“Some of the flooding seen in London in July has seen some individual stations report almost twice their normal summer rainfall,” Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre told Sky News.
“But the north and west of the country has experienced plenty of sunshine through June and July, although most of the country has been duller than average through August.”
Surprisingly, for all that, the UK’s mean temperature is actually up one degree centigrade higher than average at 15.4C, according to the Met Office’s figures.
Why are we asking this now?
While the warmer summer weather will be welcomed by many Scots emerging from lockdown to enjoy the beautiful mountains, forests, lochs and glens at their most splendid, the increases in average temperatures across the British Isles again points to the climate emergency and the global heating the planet must address now to avert future catastrophe.
Glasgow will host the Cop26 climate summit of world leaders in November, an event being billed by activists and campaigners as a last chance for governments to come together and agree a meaningful collective action plan to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, prevent environmental destruction and promote renewable energy sources.
Groups like Extinction Rebellion - currently taking part in two weeks of demonstrations in London - are doing their utmost to draw attention to the crisis but it is our political leaders who must now pick up the baton and instigate real change on a global scale if we are to restabilise our atmosphere and avoid untold chaos.