Taiwan is an independent state not recognized as such by the government of mainland China. It consists of an island rather larger than Wales or the state of Vermont, situated between 22° and 25°N and lying about 160 km/100 mi off the coast of China. It is mountainous and rugged with the highest peak rising to nearly 4,000 m/13,000 ft.
The whole island shares the tropical monsoon climate experienced on the southern Chinese mainland. Rainfall is almost everywhere over 2,000 mm/80 in a year at low levels and much more in the mountains.
More rain falls in the period May to September than in the rest of the year. Some of the heaviest falls of rain from July to September are brought by the typhoons of the South China Sea. As they move northwards towards Japan they bring strong winds and heavy rain to the whole island.
In winter, disturbed weather with cloud and rain affects the north and east coasts rather more than the south. This can be seen by comparing the table for Taipei, in the north, with that for Hengch'un in the extreme south. Taipei not only has more rain in winter but on many more days.
The summer heat is made more oppressive by high humidity so that at low levels some days can be distinctly unpleasant. The winter and spring weather of Taiwan, however, can be very pleasant. The north of the island has a cooler winter than the south.
The climate is quite sunny for much of the year, with sunshine hours averaging six hours a day in winter to seven or eight in summer. These amounts are much reduced in the cloudy wetter hills.
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