YES, it’s been hot - but it’s going to get hotter. And windier, wetter, stormier and, yes, colder.

Those are the warnings from climate change experts in the wake of last week’s very high temperatures. The vagaries of the interactions between the world’s complex meteorological system and humanity’s carbon pollution mean that the weather in Scotland in the future will be more chaotic, more extreme and more dangerous, they say.

Last week’s sweltering hot spell caused trains to be cancelled or delayed to prevent rails buckling, forest wildfires, police warnings about leaving pets in hot cars and official pleas to use water wisely. It also caused black goo to melt and dribble down the supposedly weather-proof roof of the Glasgow Science Centre.

But there have also been some upsides. This year’s strawberry and raspberry crops are expected to be exceptionally good, non-polluting solar power has been breaking all records and – apart from those on the east coast shrouded in haar – most people have been enjoying the sun.

According to the Met Office, the hottest place in Scotland on Thursday was Bishopton in Renfrewshire, where the mercury reached 31.9 degrees in the shade. That’s not far off the highest June temperature ever recorded in Scotland, which was 32.2 degrees at Ochtertyre in Perth and Kinross back in 1893.

Several other places recorded temperatures of 30 degrees or over on Thursday, including Tyndrum in Stirling, Aviemore in Highland, Strathallan in Perthshire and Braemar in Aberdeenshire. The lowest maximum on the Scottish mainland was Inverbervie on the north east coast at 20.4 degrees.

It was much cooler however, on the northern isles, with Kirkwall on Orkney only reaching 17.7 degrees, Fair Isle 14.5 degrees and Unst in Shetland 14.3 degrees. The place to register the lowest maximum on Thursday - 11.7 degrees - was Sule Skerry, a tiny island 60 kilometres west of Orkney (see table below).

The Met Office confirmed that June had been unusually hot. Scotland’s average daily maximum temperature up to June 27 was 17 degrees, two degrees higher than the June average since 1910.

It was similarly hot in June 2010, but hotter in June 1970. The highest June temperatures since records began was in 1940, when the average daily maximum reached 18.8 degrees.

Professor James Curran, a certified meteorologist and the former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), has been measuring the temperature in his garden at Uddingston. On Thursday it reached 34.3 degrees.

That would make it the highest ever recorded in Scotland in June - except that it wasn’t an official measurement done in accordance with Met Office protocols.

Curran chairs the government-funded body aiming to prepare for global warming, Climate Ready Clyde.

“We have identified heat as an issue we need to prepare for in Scotland,” he said.

“It can cause wildfires and also seriously disrupt rail travel. Both of those have been experienced in the last few days with a huge moorland fire near Manchester, which also caused heavy air pollution, and cancellation of trains at Glasgow Central Station. There have also been numerous health warnings issued recently.”

Climate predictions suggested that summers are likely to be around four degrees hotter in Scotland in the 2080s, Curran pointed out. “The hottest days will be even warmer and be around six to eight degrees hotter than now,” he said.

“Over the last 100 years the frequency of heatwaves across Europe has already trebled. We should remember how dangerous extreme heat can be – since around 40,000 people died in the European heat wave of 2003, with more than 2,000 in England.”

Curran highlighted how variable the weather was becoming, with Storm Hector bringing unusually high winds earlier in June and a long, cold winter with severe blizzards. “Climate change could well be driving this variability,” he told the Sunday Herald.

Because the Arctic has been warming much faster than elsewhere on the planet, the temperature difference between mid and high latitudes is declining. This causes the jet stream, a powerful high altitude wind that usually brings mild weather, to weaken and meander, he explained.

“These meanders allowed the jet stream to drift south in winter – hence we were in the cold air on the northern side and experienced snow and frost. Now it has drifted way north, providing us with extreme heat.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland warned that the weather was giving “very clear signals” that our climate is changing. “As records tumble we enter new territory and we should be worried,” said the environmental group’s director, Dr Richard Dixon.

“Some extra summer heat is no doubt welcome for many but the bigger picture is of more energy in the global atmosphere leading to bigger storms, more floods and more severe heatwaves.”

There have been days of cancellations and delays on on the railway network, with problems with points at Paisley triggering further problems on Friday morning. “We’re really sorry to our customers whose journeys have been disrupted over the past few days,” said a spokesperson for the Scotrail Alliance.

According to Network Rail, tracks in direct sunshine could heat to as much as 50 degrees, causing expansion and risking buckling. Slowing down trains helps to reduce the pressure of the tracks, and some are painted white to reflect the heat.

Forest Enterprise Scotland reported two wildfires last week. One near Fauldhouse in West Lothian on Wednesday required 50 firefighters and the other was in north Scotland.

Land managers have been warned of a high fire risk due to the dry weather. “Our advice to people is to use their common sense, and to be particularly careful when out in the forests,” said a spokesperson for the government agency.

Scottish Water is monitoring water supplies across Scotland closely. “We have issued advice to customers to use water wisely in two localised areas, parts of Moray and the Stornoway area of Lewis,” said a spokesperson.

“The advice was issued in these areas because of prolonged dry weather and lower than normal levels in the River Spey, from which water in most of Moray is sourced, and lower than normal levels in a loch that supplies Stornoway water treatment works.”

Sepa is planning to tour north and north-east Scotland to advise farmers and others how to reduce their use of water from lochs and rivers. “Our staff are prioritising visits to catchments with lower water levels to assess and mitigate any potential environmental impacts,” said the agency’s chief officer, John Kenny.

“With further hot weather forecast over the coming week, we continue to monitor the situation with partners across Scotland, and will work closely with water users to ensure that the environment and other water users are not impacted as a result of this dry spell.”

The National Farmers Union in Scotland described the prolonged dry spell as “a welcome relief” after 12 months of dreadful weather. “The quality of the winter fodder made to date is likely to have been tremendous and early reports on the soft fruit harvest suggests exceptional quality,” said NFU Scotland president, Andrew McCornick.

“I am always wary when discussing the downside of warm weather in Scotland, as it is such a rarity. That being said, many parts will be hoping for a spot of rain in the next wee while.”

National Grid, which distributes electricity across the UK, reported that generation from photovoltaic solar cells topped eight gigawatts for eight days in a row from 21-28 June. That’s a record, said a company spokesperson.

Some 533 gigawatt-hours of solar electricity was produced in a week, making up between 10 and 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity demand.

Conservationists urged people to be careful and to help wild animals in the heat. “Wildfires can have a devastating impact on wildlife during their breeding season, particularly ground nesting birds such as skylarks and meadow pipits,” said Rory Syme from the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

“We’d urge people to be vigilant for fires and also to avoid lighting open fires during the current dry spell.”

He pointed out that wildlife needed access to water and shelter in hot weather. “People can help by leaving out water for birds and other animals in their gardens, making sure to replacing it every few days so it’s kept clean,” he added.

“Shelter can be something as simple as a pile of logs or leaves, and more fastidious gardeners might want to invest in a purpose-built bug hotel. Keeping flowers well watered can help ensure that bees and other insects have access to pollen and nectar.”

TABLE: Maximum temperatures in Scotland on June 28 2018 (degrees centigrade)

Bishopton, Renfrewshire: 31.9

Tyndrum, Stirling: 31.6

Aviemore, Highland: 30.1

Strathallan, Perthshire: 31.0

Braemar, Aberdeenshire 30.0

Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire: 20.4

Kirkwall, Orkney: 17.7

Fair Isle, Shetland: 14.5

Unst, Shetland: 14.3

Sule Skerry, off Orkney: 11.7

source: Met Office