The nation experienced its warmest September on record this year due to a strong high-pressure air system over the Pacific Ocean, with eight of the nation’s weather observation stations reporting record-high temperatures last month, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday.
While the month ended yesterday, statistics from the bureau showed that by Sunday, the average temperature had reached 29.07°C, exceeding the monthly average of 27.24°C established between 1981 and 2010.
The bureau’s statistics also showed that eight of 13 weather observation stations reported record-high temperatures last month. The station in Taipei recorded a temperature of 37.8°C on Sept. 16, breaking the previous record set on Sept. 11, 1946. Meanwhile, Greater Kaohsiung recorded a high of 37.6°C on Sept. 16.
Temperatures in Hsinchu and New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) set new records three times last month, reaching 37.5°C and 38.8°C respectively, the bureau said, adding that the latter was also the nation’s highest recorded temperature last month.
The strong influence of a high-pressure air system over the Pacific Ocean delayed the arrival of the first frontal system in the fall, which did not come until Thursday last week, it added.
The bureau said the nation experienced an abnormally hot summer this year.
The average temperature in July this year was 29.98°C, higher than the previous average of 28.82°C.
Bureau records show that the average temperature in August over previous years was 28.52°C. However, this year, the average for August climbed to 29.22°C.
By yesterday, Taipei had 61 days this year with temperatures exceeding 35°C, surpassing the previous record of 53 days set in 1991, the bureau said.
If the bureau considers only those days with temperatures above 36°C, Hsinchu and Chiayi also broke their previous records by having 11 days and five days respectively meeting the criteria this year.
However, the bureau said that the nation was not alone in experiencing unusually high temperatures.
Data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that the global average temperature this year has broken records set in 1880 each month since April, except in July. The average oceanic temperature has also hit record highs for the four months from May to August.
The global average temperature from January to August was also the third-highest in climate history, exceeded only by averages set in 1998 and 2010, US data showed.
Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典), director of the weather forecasting center at the Central Weather Bureau, said the phenomenon reflects the long-term trend of global warming, which is likely to interact with the arctic oscillation atmospheric phenomenon near the north pole and further reduce temperatures in middle-latitude regions this winter.
“The arctic oscillation occurs when the west wind in the northern hemisphere weakens, causing cold air to move south and leading to unusually low temperatures in winter,” he said.
Cheng also said that the west wind weakens because of global warming, which also causes the ice in arctic regions to melt further this year.
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