Observed and projected climate change in Taiwan

H. H. Hsu*, C. T. Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the secular climate change characteristics in Taiwan over the past 100 years and the relationship with the global climate change. Estimates for the likelihood of future climate changes in Taiwan were made based on the projection from the IPCC climate models. In the past 100 years, Taiwan experienced an island-wide warming trend (1.0-1.4°C/100 years). Both the annual and daily temperature ranges have also increased. The warming in Taiwan is closely connected to a large-scale circulation and SAT fluctuations, such as the "cool ocean warm land" phenomenon. The water vapor pressure has increased significantly and could have resulted in a larger temperature increase in summer. The probability for the occurence of high temperatures has increased and the result suggests that both the mean and variance in the SAT in Taiwan have changed significantly since the beginning of the 20th century. Although, as a whole, the precipitation in Taiwan has shown a tendency to increase in northern Taiwan and to decrease in southern Taiwan in the past 100 years, it exhibits a more complicated spatial pattern. The changes occur mainly in either the dry or rainy season and result in an enhanced seasonal cycle. The changes in temperature and precipitation are consistent with the weakening of the East Asian monsoon. Under consideration of both the warming effect from greenhouse gases and the cooling effect from aerosols, all projections from climate models indicated a warmer climate near Taiwan in the future. The projected increase in the area-mean temperature near Taiwan ranged from 0.9-2.7°C relative to the 1961-1990 averaged temperature, when the CO2 concentration increased to 1.9 times the 1961-1990 level. These simulated temperature increases were statistically significant and can be attributed to the radiative forcing associated with the increased concentration of greenhouse gases and aerosols. The projected changes in precipitation were within the range of natural variability for all five models. There is no evidence supporting the possibility of precipitation changes near Taiwan based on the simulations from five IPCC climate models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-104
Number of pages18
JournalMeteorology and Atmospheric Physics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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