I. Introduction to Meteorology

1. Intriguing weather and climate

We live in a mother nature that is unfathomable in its numerous changes and shifts. One minute it could be a sunny, gentle spring day, the next minute it might begin raining heavily; while in gloomy and dank winter days there will sometimes be welcoming sunshine. This phenomenon of changes of the state of the atmosphere within a short period of time is called "weather".

Nature is also capable of long-term patterns. These are the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. They are distinguished by differences of temperature and precipitation. The subtle combinations of different temperature and precipitation are translated into the sensation of seasonal changes. This phenomenon of long-term weather changes is called "climate".

In Taiwan, the weather and climate are mainly affected by monsoons. In summer the prevailing wind is a southwesterly monsoon, while in winter it is northeasterly monsoon. This difference in monsoons generates a difference of climate in different areas. In terms of precipitation, the precipitation in central and southern Taiwan during summertime is generally higher, while in winter there will seldom be rain. In northern Taiwan, on the other hand, there will be rain throughout the year. In terms of temperature, the temperature of the north is generally lower than the south; while the temperature in the high altitude mountain areas is generally lower than the ground level areas. In terms of weather changes, spring and winter usually appear more dramatic weather changes, while in summer and autumn the weather changes are usually gentler. However, during times of typhoon the weather will be stormy and extremely rainy.