The intense cold of the winter months over the land mass of Asia creates an area of high pressure over parts of the Far East. The resulting wind circulation around this winter high produces a flow of NE winds which prevail during the winter months in
North Pacific Currents the China Sea and adjacent waters. The NE monsoon of the Western North Pacific is particularly noticeable between latitudes 5 "N and 30 °N. Its eastern limits are more difficult to define as it merges with the NE trade winds of the North Pacific. Although the monsoons of the China Sea can be regarded as an extension of the monsoon system of the Indian Ocean, there is a certain difference between them. In the China Sea, it is the NE monsoon of the winter months which is the stronger and more consistent wind, whereas in the Indian Ocean, the SW monsoon of summer is the stronger constant wind. At its height, the NE monsoon of the China Sea forms a continuous wind system with the NE trade wind of the North Pacific, so that in
December and January particularly, there is a belt of strong NE winds right across the ocean from California to China.
The arrival of the monsoon depends on latitude and it starts earlier in the north and later further south. Although it commences around September at its northern limit, the NE monsoon is only fully established in the area by late November and lasts until March. During the changeover periods with the SW monsoon, in April-May and August-September, there are calms and variable winds.
The strength of the wind is also influenced by latitude, the monsoon being strongest in the north, where it blows an average 25 knots, decreasing to 15 knots and less among the islands of the
Philippines and Northern Indonesia. However, at the height of winter, in December and January, the monsoon can blow with gale force for many days, the stormiest area being the open waters between the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan.
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