Sat, Dec 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Winter to be warmer, no sign of first cold air mass

Resilient:Super Typhoon Mangkhut has provided a chance to study coral regeneration near Dongsha Island, with cover rising to 62.3% from 40% after the storm

Staff writer, with CNA

Central Weather Bureau Weather Forecast Center Director Lu Kuo-chen addresses a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Hsiao Yu-hsin, Taipei Times

Winter temperatures are likely to be higher on average than in recent years, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday, forecasting cooler weather from Friday next week.

Cooler temperatures next week are to be brought by northeastern winds, not a cold front, the bureau said, adding that winter is to start somewhat later than usual.

The first cold air mass usually arrives between Nov. 10 and Dec. 15, but there have been no indications that such a front would arrive soon, the bureau said.

A cold air mass, defined as a front that brings lows of at least 12°C to Taipei, would not arrive until the middle of this month, Weather Forecast Center Director Lu Kuo-chen (呂國臣) said.

The first strong cold air mass, which brings lows of 10°C to Taipei, usually arrives between Nov. 22 and Dec. 31, he said.

A cold surge, a front that drives temperatures below 10°C in Taipei, usually arrives for the first time between Dec. 10 and Jan. 21, Lu said.

On Friday next week, strengthening northeastern winds are to bring rain and cooler weather, the bureau said, without issuing a temperature forecast.

From Sept. 1 to Wednesday, the average temperature across the country was 25.25°C, 0.37°C higher than the average over the same period last year, the bureau said.

In related news, the coral reefs in Dongsha Atoll National Park are in a stable condition, but need time to fully recover from typhoon damage, the Marine National Park Headquarters said.

The agency said it and the Dongsha Atoll Research Station at National Sun Yat-sen University in October undertook an annual coral health survey, which showed that average coral cover was 62.3 percent around the atoll and 51 percent in the lagoon, with 50 percent cover considered healthy.

Part of the survey was conducted two weeks after Super Typhoon Mangkhut passed over Pratas Island (Dongsha Island, 東沙島) on its way to Hong Kong from the Philippines, the agency said.

The timing enabled it to learn more about how typhoons affect coral reefs, it said, adding that coral cover on the atoll’s windward side drastically decreased from more than 70 percent to about 40 percent.

Although typhoons can devastate coral habitats, they also bring cooler seawater and balance its ecosystem in summer, when the water temperature is higher and can cause coral bleaching, it said.

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