Primorye’s temperature schedule essentially
determines the nature of its air circulation
and terrain relief. Monsoon circulation creates
in winter and summer lower temperatures than at the same latitudes in the
west of the continent. The winter is too cold for such relatively low latitudes,
particularly on sites open to free access of cold continental air. The
lowest air temperature is observed in Ussuri River valley, the Hanka Lowland
area, and in the western foothills and mountains of Sikhote Alin. The average
January temperatures in these regions range from –20o to –4oC.
The absolute minimum is –45oC. In Krasnoarmeisk and Pozharsky
Districts, the temperature in some places drops to –51-52oC.
The warmest districts are those located on the southern and eastern coasts
of Japan Sea (-10 and –14oC, respectively); however, here, too,
the average temperatures are lower than those on corresponding latitudes
are. For instance, on those latitudes on the U.S. coast, those temperatures
are 10o warmer, and on the coast of France even 20oC
January temperatures vary from north to south, discrepancies amounting to 10-12oC. These discrepancies are equally significant from west to east. For instance in Zhuravlevka (Chuguevka District), situated on the western slope of Sikhote Alin, the mean January temperature is –23.9oC, and in Plastun Inlet (Ternei District) 140 km to the east it is –12.5oC.
In winter, in Primorye’s mountainous areas at an altitude of 400-500 m, temperature inversion is observed. The temperature there is several degrees higher than that in the valley flood plain, to which cold air perpetually flows down to accumulate. Temperature inversions essentially cause earlier arrival of spring: leaves turn green and unfold earlier on the upper slopes. For that reason, more heat-loving plant species often settle here and more cold-resistant plants within the bounds of foothills, or occupy river valley floors.
The warmest month in Primorye’s continental areas is July, and on the coastline August. The highest air temperatures are characteristic of the Hanka Plain and the southwestern districts of Primorye, ranging in the western foothills of Sikhote Alin, on the Hanka Plain, on the coast of Peter the Great Bay, the eastern coast of Japan Sea, and on peaks of Sikhote Alin from 16.5o to 18.8oC, from 18.5o to 20oC, from 15.5o to 17.8oC, from 12.9o to 15.6oC and from 11.5o to 15.7oC, respectively.
Thus, the Sikhote Alin range performs s dual role in distributing both winter and summer temperatures over the western and eastern mountain slopes. It is a barrier preventing free flow of cold air from the continent to Japan Sea and transfer thereto of warm air in summer. The same mountain barrier does not allowcold air to penetrate inside the continent in summer and relatively warm sea air in winter. At the same time, Sikhote Alin does not is conducive to air stagnation and its intense cooling at night in winter. As a result, the average monthly air temperatures in January on the western slopes of Sikhote Alin are 10-11oC lower than those on the eastern slopes.
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