EPA \ TAQMN \ Dust Storm \ Origination of Monitoring

Origination of Monitoring

On March 12th, 1994, many locals in Keelung, Yilan, Hsihchih, Reifang, and others expressed their concerns over reddish-brown mud powder that covered their cars and filled their sewers after raining. Various members of the public thought it might have been caused by a passing truck or a prank, while others felt that it was the result of pollution caused by power plants. The car of then Hsihchih mayor Xueguang Liao was also covered with mud, which was thought to be an act carried out by his opposers. At the time, environmental and meteorological institutions were without a logical explanation. With the help of meteorological and environmental engineering experts, the EPA later found that the reddish-brown mud rain had possibly originated from the east-Asian region and travelled to Taiwan in the form of a dust storm. Since then, Taiwan has began to see the importance of east-Asian dust storm and their effect on Taiwan's air quality.

Dust storm are an active weather phenomenon in the desert regions of east Asia, but the number of dust storm that have the ability to transport sands a long distance are a tiny percentage of total dust storm, and the chance for one to affect the air quality of Taiwan is slim. However, they can still cause a large scale deterioration of air quality in Taiwan for short periods of time, which is why the EPA regards this matter with importance. In order to strengthen their certification of this long distance dust storm phenomenon, the EPA conducted related studies while also establishing the Matsu monitoring station in 1999 to gain an earlier grasp of dust storm that affect Taiwan. According to the record of various monitoring results, when the Matsu monitoring station detects an increase in density of micro particles affected by dust storm, Taiwan will be affected within hours.

Dust storm mainly occur in desert regions where the soil is loose, dry, and lacking in vegetation. When the air is unstable and wind speed near ground is extremely high in large areas, dust is easily blown into the air forming dust storm. Recently, as more and more land is transforming into deserts in the northwestern regions of China, the frequency and scale of dust storm have increased. Unless China addresses these problems, Taiwan will continue to be affected by these problems in the future.

last update : 2017/07/31