Early Pleistocene

Middle Pleistocene 

Late Pleistocene

Climate history at Lochnagar



The Holocene is the current interglacial. Commencing at 10, 000 BP (Before Present), temperatures rose abruptly and have remained close to those of the present. By around 7,500 BP the climate in parts of Scotland was 1-2º warmer than it is today. Thereafter temperatures tended to decline, but the several warm phases lasting several centuries seems to have occurred between 3,100.-2,800, during the Roman period and again from 1,100-700 BP. After 1300 AD, the climate cooled as the Little Ice Age began. The coldest years were around 1700 and Sugden (1981) has gathered anecdotal evidence that more permanent snow cover existed in the Cairngorms:


There I saw Mount Benawne(Ben Avon), with a furr’d mist apon his snowie head instead of a night cap (for you must understand, that the oldest man alive never saw but the snow was on the top of divers of these hilles, both in Summer, as well as in Winter” Taylor (1618)


“..naked summits of a surprising height succeed, many of them topped with perpetual snow…’ Pennant (1772).


The trend since 1850 has been towards warming, with recent years seeing some of the highest average temperatures of the last few centuries and, consequently, restricted and short-lived snow cover.


The most detailed reconstruction of the mountain climate comes from Lochnagar. There mean July temperatures over the last 6000 yr have remained between 10.4 and 12.4 ºC (Dalton et al., 2005). Detailed palaeo-ecological data also exist for Lochan Uaine (Batterbee, et al., .2001).