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2021 was 2nd hottest year on record: KMA

Last year was the second hottest year for South Korea on record as climate change continued to drive up global temperatures, the national weather agency said Sunday.

A report from the Korea Meteorological Administration said South Korea’s average temperature for 2021 reached 13.3 degrees Celsius, becoming the second-hottest year since data were compiled from 1973. The record follows 13.4 degrees reached in 2016.

By region, last year was the hottest year on record for Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, Daejeon, Sejong, South Chungcheong Province, Busan, Ulsan, South Gyeongsang Province, North Gyeongsang Province, North Jeolla Province, Gwangju, South Jeolla Province and Jeju.

The year 2021 was the second hottest year on record for North Chungcheong Province and fifth hottest for Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province.

The overall average temperature for South Korea was 0.8 degrees higher than the average figure for years from 1990 to 2020. All but one average for each month of 2021 was higher than the monthly averages for the previous 30 years.

The weather agency said the unusually warm spring and fall, largely due to global warming, aided in 2021 becoming the second-hottest year on record.

In a sharp contrast to a year earlier, the monsoon season for 2021 was markedly short, the agency said, as it only lasted 17 days -- from July 3 to 19. It was the third-shortest monsoon season on record and only a third of the 54-day-long monsoon season for 2020, which was the longest on record.

Yet, the yearly amount of rainfall at 1,244.5 millimeters was similar to years before. While the amount of rainfall for the monsoon season was small, South Korea saw an unusually high amount of rainfall in the spring, which brought up the aggregate amount throughout the year.

The country experienced 22 typhoons last year, down from the 30-year average of 25.1, and three of them made visible impact on South Korea, pouring heavy rain across Jeju and the southern and eastern parts of the country.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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