Scotland ‘snow-free’ for fourth time in six years

By BBC News

Scotland is completely snow-free for the fourth time in the last six years.

The Sphinx, in the Cairngorms, which is historically the longest-lasting patch of snow in the UK, has melted. Snow expert Iain Cameron reported on Friday that the famous patch had disappeared in the last 24 hours. It is the fourth time it has gone in the last six years, having only melted nine times in the past 300 years. Mr Cameron said climate change was a likely factor.

The Sphinx, on remote Braeriach, a 1,296m (4,252ft) Munro, has melted away more frequently in the last 18 years. According to records, it previously melted fully in 1933, 1959, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2017, 2018, 2021 and now 2022. Before 1933, it is thought to have last melted completely in the 1700s.

Mr Cameron tweeted: “So there we have it. It is confirmed that Scotland is snow-free yet again. “The last patch, the Sphinx, disappeared sometime in the last 24 hours. ” He added: “I’m not a climatologist (nor even an academic), but it’s a pretty obvious direction of travel. “The future for semi-permanent snows in Scotland looks bleak.”

Just six days ago he had made the climb to check on the patch and described it as “hanging on for dear life.” Mr Cameron, based in Stirling, has been studying snow patches in Scotland for 25 years and is author of the book The Vanishing Ice, which he describes as a “lament” to snow and ice that lingers high in Scotland’s hills. He worked alongside the late Dr Adam Watson, a biologist dubbed Mr Cairngorms┬ábecause of his many years studying the mountains.

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