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Chapter 9. Climate

If latitude alone determined climate, Scotland would experience the rigours of Southern Greenland; but thanks to its projection into the Atlantic with the genial south-west winds, it enjoys a climate of moderate heat and cold. Banffshire, while open towards the milder west and to some extent protected from the colder east, has a high latitude, an exposure sloping to the north and facing winds from the north polar seas, and barrier heights to south and south-west. Yet its climate is marvellously favourable.

Although there are parts where winters are severe, and, lingering, too often chill the lap of spring, there are areas on the seaboard and in sheltered parts of the middle of the county, where conditions are in a way surprising when regard is had to the northern situation. At Banff, for instance, where the sunshine record is among the highest in the kingdom, the mean temperature in 1915 was 45•7 degs., in 1916 46•1 degs., and in 1917 45.8 degs. In these three years the maximum temperatures were respectively 74 Begs. (May 24 and Sept. 8); 77 degs. (July 26); and 8o degs. (Aug. 6), while the minimum temperatures were i6 degs. (Dec. 5); 23 degs. (Dec. 9); and i 5 degs. (Mar. 9). July and August are the warmest months and January the coldest. In 1915 the average daily sunshine period was, 3 hrs. 35 mins., in 1916 it was 3 hrs. 6 mins., and in 1917 3 hrs. 48 mins.

In 35 years, 1883-1917, in which rainfall readings have been taken at Banff, the average works out to 28 59 inches per annum, varying from 22 inches in 1904 to 34 L inches in 1895. April is the driest month, followed by June and February; the wettest months are October and November. The general relation between rainfall and elevation above sea level is well shown on rainfall maps of Banffshire. A fringe along the coast has less than 3o inches a year, the line marking the fall of 35 inches curves just south of Dufftown, the higher region in the extreme south of the county has a still higher yearly average.

The most prevalent winds are south and south-east. The strength of the northerly winds is shown by the crouching of trees and shrubs in exposed situations along the coast as they bend away from the sea.

Along the coast snow does not lie long, but it is otherwise in such districts as the Cabrach, Glenrinnes, and Kirkmichael. Delightful as the summer often is there, the winter is frequently long and severe. In not a few years there is an anxious race between the maturing corn crops and the on-coming of the winter frost and snow.

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