Wed, Dec 16, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Cold air front from China brings air pollution, haze

By Shelley Shan and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporters

Scooter riders yesterday negotiate the traffic in Kaohsiung, where the air quality was conspicuously poor, thanks to a cold air front moving in from China.

Photo: CNA

The first strong cold air front of this winter arrived yesterday, with the Central Weather Bureau saying that temperatures could dip to about 10?C in northern Taiwan.

The bureau said residents in the north would be more likely to see a drop in mercury, with temperatures of between 12?C and 13?C expected this morning.

The force of the front, which is moving in from China, would be the strongest tonight and tomorrow, and residents in the northern parts of central Taiwan could experience a low of 10?C.

Warmer temperatures are forecast for Friday, the bureau said.

Former CWB forecast center director Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said that due to a lack of the humidity in cold front’s middle and high layers, the chance of snow was extremely low for Yushan (玉山) or Hehuanshan (合歡山), but Taipingshan (太平山) in Yilan County might see some white stuff between tonight and early tomorrow morning.

The key was whether the northeast monsoon would bring enough humidity to Taipingshan, he said.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said that by this afternoon, the entire nation would see hazy conditions because of the cold front, which is seriously worsening air quality nationwide.

The haze would raise the levels of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or less — to between 70 and 95 micrograms per cubic meter, well above the severest reading on the EPA’s warning scale, which is 71 micrograms per cubic meter, the agency said.

Hazy conditions began affecting northern Taiwan yesterday afternoon, but the haze should begin to abate this morning.

Pollution and PM2.5 levels of the haze, which began affecting the center, south and east of the nation last night, should peak about noon today and begin to dissipate about 4pm.

People with chronic respiratory disease or cardiovascular diseases, pregnant women, the elderly and young children should avoid outdoor activities, the EPA said, adding that it would be advisable to wear a face mask while outside.

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