After the nation experienced its warmest winter in history, people can expect a warm and dry spring due to a weak El Nino effect, the Central Weather Bureau said on Tuesday.
Winter in Taiwan generally lasts from December to February. While there was no cold wave between December and last month, there were five cold air masses and one strong cold air mass, bureau data showed.
There were also no cold waves recorded in the winter months between December 1997 and February 1988; December 2000 and February 2001; and December 2016 and February 2017, the data showed.
The average temperature was 20.5oC, 2.2 degrees higher than the climate average, making it the warmest winter since 1947, when records began, the bureau said.
The bureau defines a cold wave as a meteorological system that would cause the low temperature in Taipei to drop below 10oC.
Rainfall last winter mostly occurred in the northeast coast, as well as the mountainous area of northern Taiwan, which experienced higher-than-normal precipitation, the data showed.
However, rainfall in the west coast was below average, which resulted in a water shortage in southern Taiwan, the bureau said.
Observations of equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures showed that the El Nino effect that is developing in the central Pacific Ocean at the moment is an atypical one, because it is relatively weak, with a higher sea surface temperature found on the west side, also known as the El Nino 4 region, Weather Forecast Center Deputy Director Fong Chin-tzu (馮欽賜) said.
“Statistically, when such a phenomenon happens in the winter, it would be followed by a warmer spring,” Fong said.
Although the bureau forecast that rainfall this spring is likely to be within or below the normal range from this month to May, Fong said that more rain is expected in central and southern Taiwan this month compared with other parts of the nation.
Generally, rainfall this month and next is forecast to be normal to low, Fong said.
As for May, the traditional start of the “plum rain” season, the bureau forecast normal rainfall, but added that it is hard to make predictions two months from now.
The nation could still see a cold wave this month, as the bureau has recorded cold waves in March before, Fong said.
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