Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Chilly New Year’s Eve expected

BUNDLE UP Although this year will end with a cold snap, the weather bureau said that temperatures in Taiwan have risen by as much as 1.4˚C over the past century

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

People planning to spend New Year’s Eve outside in northern areas may need to bundle up well, as the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said that the mercury could drop as low as 11˚C in coastal areas.

According to the weather bureau’s forecast, the temperature tomorrow night could be as low as 12˚C or 13˚C in Taipei City, 12˚C in the central region, 15˚C in the south and 16˚C in east.

The bureau also said chances of rain would be high in northern and northeastern regions, although rain was unlikely to interrupt festive events on New Year’s Eve.

While chances of rain in central and southern Taiwan are low, those eager to watch the first sunrise of the new year may be disappointed, as their view is likely to be blocked by thick clouds, the bureau said.

Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the bureau’s weather forecast center, said southeastern areas — including Taimali (太麻里), Lanyu (蘭嶼) and Green Island (綠島) — would be the most ideal spots to see the sunrise on Friday morning.

There is a 50 percent chance of seeing the sun rise from the sea at these locations, he said.

According to the bureau, people in Lanyu will be the first in Taiwan to see the first sunrise of next year, at 6:33am.

The bureau yesterday also published a study on weather changes in the country over more than a century, which showed that local temperatures have risen by an ­average of 0.8˚C since 1897.

The average temperature rose by 1.2˚C in plains areas and 1.4˚C in metropolitan areas, according to the study, which compiled weather statistics from 1897 until last year.

The survey also found that the nation’s isotherms — contour lines on a map connecting points of equal temperature at a given time — have been pushed northward by around 150km as a result of global warming.

The warming trend has also affected mountain areas, with the average temperature in mountainous areas rising by around 0.6˚C.

This has resulted in an increase of about 100m in the critical altitude for living animals compared with a century ago.

The weather bureau also confirmed what many residents have been saying: winters are not quite as cold as they used to be, and the rest of the year is getting warmer.

Over the past five decades, the number of days per year on which the mercury dropped below 10˚C fell by 19 days in mountainous areas, but only one day in low-lying areas.

However, the number of days on which the temperatures rose to more than 30˚C increased by 28 days per year in Taiwan proper, by 41 days in its outlying islands and by two days in mountainous areas.

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