All outdoor crofting activities are affected by, and largely limited by, the weather. It is therefore useful to have a basic understanding of where our weather comes from and why it behaves the way it does. With a little knowledge it is possible to make our own predictions about the weather, based on observations of the clouds and changes in the air pressure. However, it is much more reliable to refer to the professionals although it is also useful to be able to interpret their charts to gain an accurate picture of what is going on around us.
For a basic explanation of weather systems and synoptic charts, BBC Bitesize for GCSE students provides a good starting point.
The Met Office gives further detail on a range or weather-related topics, under the heading of How Weather Works. The sections on 'Weather fronts' and 'How to read synoptic weather charts' are particularly useful and are accompanied by YouTube videos.
Thunder storms, or more specifically lightening can cause significant problems to power supplies, broadband connections and damage to electrical devices. A useful site is Lightning Maps which displays lightning strikes in real time and hence gives warning of impending strikes in your locality.
The distinction between weather and climate is made clear in the Met Office section of their site; 'What do we mean by climate?'. The section then goes on to deal with 'What is Climate Change?' and looks at the evidence that the global climate is changing. It also includes a video which states the case for the human cause of the recent rapid rise in average global temperature.
NASA's Global Climate Change resource offers impressive evidence, causes and effects of climate change, as well as mitigation and adaptation.
Climate Change and Scottish Agriculture: Report and Recommendations of the Agriculture and Climate Change Stakeholder Group (ACCSG). This is an attempt to consider the potential effects of climate change on Scottish Agriculture and to make recommendations for adaptation.
The UK Government’s report (2011) ’The Future of Food and Farming’ contains a great deal of information on the environmental effects of intensive agriculture and current global food markets, including the effect on Climate Change.
An article in the Edinburgh News (May 2015), produced in partnership with the Scottish Government, explores the question: 'What impact will climate change have on Scotland? This article includes a section about agriculture.
The SNH website has a section on the effects of climate change: 'Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for Scotland's nature and landscapes. The unprecedented rate of human-induced climate change threatens plants and animals that are unable to adapt quickly enough to its effects. This is happening now, and how we choose to respond will affect not only individual species and our distinctive landscapes, but also our lifestyles, our economy and our culture.'