In recent years, there have been increasing concerns about the occurrence of drought conditions and higher temperatures in Scotland. SEPA reported that in 2018 there was a significant drop in average rainfall over the winter months, followed by an unprecedented dry summer with hotter temperatures and heatwaves in the North East of Scotland. This resulted in farmers having to irrigate more than normal, depleting the natural store of water, which was not replenished over the unusually dry winter. Projections for Scotland indicate that even under a low emissions pathway, there will be a 50% chance of each summer being hotter than that of 2018.
Soil moisture deficits have also risen since the 1980s resulting in increased drought risk in the east of Scotland, therefore, demand for irrigation is expected to rise. Furthermore, insurance claims for fire damage in 2018 rose by around 20% from 2017. While the news regularly has stories of wildfires worldwide in countries including Australia, Brazil and the USA, in 2019 the UK broke its record for the largest burnt area (29,334 hectares) and highest number of annual fires (135). Titles that were previously held by the year 2018.
Download the adaptation checklist to see what additional actions you may want to consider to improve your farms resilience to drought and high temperatures.