Impact of climate change on rivers

06 March 2018

Article: 52/908

Scientists at Marine Scotland and the University of Birmingham have developed a river temperature model to predict the maximum daily river temperatures and sensitivity to climate change throughout Scotland, with interactive maps made available through the National Marine Plan interactive (NMPi) website.

Scotland’s rivers account for around 75% of the UK and 30% of European wild salmon production, with freshwater fisheries and associated expenditure contributing more than £79 million a year to the Scottish economy. However, with Atlantic salmon sensitive to changes in river temperature and temperatures expected to increase under climate change, there are concerns Scottish rivers could become less suitable for salmon.

Fisheries management organisations have also been involved with the new project, which identifies the rivers that are greatest risk of climate change impacts, making it easier for river managers to take forward mitigation measures. This work could include planting trees on river banks to increase shading or managing water demand and use.

The Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN) was set up in 2013 to provide this information. It is a scientific collaboration between Marine Scotland Science Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory and the University of Birmingham delivered with support from local fisheries trusts and boards.

Resources include maps of maximum river temperature and climate sensitivity for Scotland to allow managers to plan where to plant trees and the Scotland River Temperature Monitoring website.

Source: Scottish Government News Release, 4 March 2018