As the blizzard paralyzed several states in the East Coast with strong wind and heavy snow few days ago, Taiwan was experiencing unbelievable cold weather – and snow scenery – in the meantime.
As the subtropical country located at the latitude approximately as the same as Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas, Taiwan usually has a humid and relatively warm winter. With the average winter temperature ranging from 60 degrees for the northern to 68 degrees for the southern, snowing is something exclusive in alpine areas.
Last weekend, with the cold air mass coming down from the North, 95% of Taiwan had the temperature below 50 degrees and the low temperature broke the history record. In addition to the mountains, several areas no higher than 1000 feet were having either snow or graupel, which is small hail and ice pellet. This unusual weather surprised Taiwanese and made people so thrilled that stagnant traffic occurred on the route to view the extraordinary snow scene.
The cause of the snow in Taiwan as well as the blizzard here in the East coast of the States was the same. The cold air mass was descending from the Arctic due to the “negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation”, which allows a southward penetration of colder air and increases storm in the mid-latitudes regions. The phenomenon not only occurs more frequently than before, but also starts to affect the subtropical area, while it usually hits the area around 45 degrees north latitude.
While the highest temperatures recorded in summer 2015, the rarity of the phenomenon last week has brought a heated discussion on extreme climates. It is said that global warming is not going to stop and the extreme hot weather is expected in 2016 again. When people are enjoying the remarkable snow scenery, it is essential to think about what we can do on the person level to make a difference to the climate change.
Snow tour to Taipei’s Yangmingshan offered by local tour agency
A potentially record-breaking blizzard has paralyzed the East Coast — here’s what caused it