Weather Wise

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SO, WE'LL all be heading up to Arbroath and Carnoustie for our summer holidays in the 21st century. Scottish tourism experts are pointing to global warming and claiming that one side effect will be warmer and drier summers for the Scottish east coast.

An optimistic report, "Potential Effects of Climate Change on the Scottish Tourist Industry" suggests that in future the west of Scotland will get more rain, but the east coast will become drier. Global warming, claims the report, will lead to a strengthened westerly airflow over Scotland, leading to mild and damp weather in the west, and mild and dry weather in the east. Apparently, towns like Arbroath, Stonehaven and Elie will come to resemble Breton coastal resorts, with harbours filled with yachts and open-air cafes where the scantily clad can sip the finest '09 Huddersfield Chardonnay.

I don't believe a word of it. Predictions of climate change for limited areas - especially areas as limited in extent as this narrow coastal strip, should be taken with an enormous pinch of salty porridge. One post-global- warming model envisages a frozen Britain; the Gulf Stream scuppered as the Atlantic conveyor is switched off by glacial melting and oceanic warming. If this model is correct, places like Arbroath will come to resemble Baffin Island rather than Brittany, icebound all winter and with short, chilly summers.

Nobody knows what the Arbroath of 2020 will look like. It may well resemble Brittany. It may well resemble the Canadian wastes. On the other hand, it may well change not a jot. But that shouldn't deter the tourists; a couple of smokies for your supper and a pint in a firewarmed bar, what more could a traveller possibly want?

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