Mon, Mar 23, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Wet current to clear air, bring rain

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A wet air stream currently passing through northern Taiwan is expected to absorb a substantial portion of particulates, which have been detrimental to the nation’s air quality since winter last year, gradually cleaning up the atmosphere, the Central Weather Bureau’s Weather Forecast Center director Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典) said yesterday.

Referring to a satellite image, Cheng yesterday said on Facebook that a gust of northerly wind was bringing with it a large amount of vapor to the Taiwan Strait.

Part of the vapor has blown onto Taiwan, forming a mass of low-altitude clouds, he said.

As particulates tend to absorb vapor, they cloud the sky when the air is dry. Conversely, after the particulates have absorbed a certain amount of vapor, they become heavier and fall to the ground, clearing the air, Cheng said.

It should also be noted that limited visibility does not necessarily mean poor air quality, he added.

According to Cheng, the air current is passing through western Taiwan and into central Taiwan.

“At present, the air quality is gradually improving, starting in northern Taiwan,” Cheng said.

However, areas that are out of the air stream’s path, including Yunlin County, Chiayi County, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung County, will not benefit from it, Cheng said.

Meanwhile, precipitation is expected in northern and northeastern Taiwan starting today in the morning through Wednesday, thanks to the northeastern monsoon and abundant vapor.

The probability of rainfall in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan this morning is 60 to 70 percent, with all three municipalities having a 90 percent likelihood for rainy weather tonight, with both the duration and amount of rain estimated to increase noticeably, the bureau said.

Precipitation in the three municipalities is expected to continue until Wednesday morning, followed by sporadic rainfall on Thursday.

However, whether the much-needed rain will help ease a prolonged water shortage remains to be seen, as it is still unclear whether the rain will fall in the catchment basins of reservoirs in the area, the bureau said.

The wet and breezy weather is also expected to drive temperatures down in northern Taiwan slightly in the early morning and at night, with temperatures dropping to between 14?C and 16?C, it said.

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