Hong Kong can expect calmer weather after a year of extreme conditions in 2008, the Hong Kong Observatory says. The exceptionally cold, hot and wet weather could be explained in part by the phenomenon known as La Nina, which had now subsided, and partly by climate change as a result of global warming, it said. 'We were affected by six tropical cyclones that necessitated the issuance of tropical cyclone warning signals, of which the No 8 gale or storm signal or above was hoisted for four,' senior scientific officer Mok Hing-yim said. 'These made the year the one with the most No 8 signals since 1999.' He said the La Nina effect - when water temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the Equator are lower than normal - had persisted during the second half of 2007 and the first half of last year. With its departure, the weather should be less extreme. In the past 12 months, Hong Kong's climate set several marks. January was the eighth coldest since 1947 - with a mean minimum temperature of 10.8 degrees Celsius during the coldest spell from the 24th to the 31st. February saw a low monthly mean temperature of 13.3 degrees, making it the coldest since 1968. The three-week cold spell from January 24 to February 16 was the longest in 40 years. The 237.4 millimetres of rain that fell on April 19 was the highest ever for a day in April. June was the darkest ever, with just 75.5 hours of sunshine, the least on record for that month. It was also the wettest month since records began in 1884, with 1,346.1 millimetres of rain. Between January 1 and July 30, 2,382.1 millimetres of rain fell, the second highest on record. August compensated with plenty of sunshine, generating 564.48 megajoules per square metre of solar radiation, the second highest for that month since records began. Autumn was very warm. September was the hottest in 39 years, and October was the warmest since 1983. 'We can expect the frequency of such extreme weather conditions to increase in future,' Mr Mok said, citing climate change. Even so, the new year should be spared the dramatic weather ups and downs of La Nina in 2008.