Citizens sit along Cheonggye Stream in central Seoul on the night of June 22, as hot weather continued after the daytime temperature reached the year’s high of 35.4 degree Celsius. (Yonhap)
The July weather in South Korea was cooler than June for the first time in recorded history this year, in yet another disturbing sign of climate change on the Korean Peninsula.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the average temperature in June was 22.8 degrees Celsius, the highest June on record since data began to be compiled in 1973.
July temperatures averaged 22.7 degrees Celsius, slightly lower than that of June. It is the first time that June was hotter than July. Normally, the month of July is more than 3 degrees hotter than June in Korea, with average temperatures of 24.5 degrees and 21.2 degrees, respectively.
The extreme weather event here is linked to the unprecedented heat wave in Siberia, the weather agency explained.
Unusually high temperatures in the Arctic Circle caused jet streams, which control weather systems in this region, to weaken.
Along with the hotter June and cooler July, the country is also experiencing its longest-ever monsoon season, with Thursday marking the 51st day of the summer rainy season. The previous record was set in 2013, when the monsoon season continued for 49 days.
While the downpour stopped in most regions across the country Thursday, rain is forecast to start again Friday and continue over the weekend.
From June 1 to Aug. 10, Korea has seen a total of 879 millimeters of rain, the second highest amount of rainfall ever seen, following 2011, which saw 942.2 millimeters of rain.
The long rainy season has also caused casualties and property damage across the country. According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters at 6 a.m. Thursday, the torrential rains that started Aug.1 have displaced 7,828 people from their homes and 25,642 cases of property damage have been reported.
As of now, 35 are dead, seven are missing and eight are injured due to torrential rains. The death count rose by two from a day earlier after two people, one each from North and South Chungcheong provinces, who were missing since Aug. 3 were found dead.
As global weather changes continue, Korea will over the years be hotter and more humid, the weather agency forecasts.
Depending on changes to the greenhouse gas emission levels, the KMA said Korea’s yearly average temperature between 2071 and 2100 could rise from 1.7 to 4.4 degrees Celsius compared to the figure for 1981 to 2010. In that timespan, the yearly average rainfall could rise between 6.6 percent and 13.2 percent.
Compared to 100 years ago, Korea’s yearly average temperature between 2011 and 2019 was 1.8 degrees Celsius higher and the amount of rainfall 86.1 millimeters higher.
The KMA added that extreme weather phenomena like heat waves, tropical nights and longer summers will surge in the future while the country sees fewer days of extreme cold, frost and heavy snow.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org