SEOUL– Human-caused climate change has brought about extensive meteorological changes on the Korean Peninsula over the past century, making summers longer and winters hotter and shorter and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy downpours, a report said Sunday.

The report from the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said that the number of days of precipitation has decreased on the peninsula in the past 100 years but the intensity of precipitation has increased. The KMA said it compiled the report on the basis of meteorological changes observed from six locations on the peninsula for 109 years from 1912 to 2020.

According to the report, the average annual temperature for the past 30 years (1991-2020) rose by 1.6 C, compared with a period of another 30 years from 1912 to 1940.
It said global warming and urbanization have progressed faster on the peninsula than the global average over the past century, as rises in its annual average temperature and carbon dioxide density were 0.8 C and 6.5 ppm higher compared to those of the entire earth.

The report also said summer became 20 days longer on the peninsula and winter 22 days shorter between the 1912-1940 and 1991-2020 periods.

Thus, the start dates of spring and summer also became faster by 17 days and 11 days, respectively. In the last 30 decades, summer has become the longest season with 118 days and autumn the shortest with 69 days.

The KMA report said the annual average temperature for the past 109 years has steadily increased by 0.2 C every 10 years, and temperature rises were particularly evident in spring and winter.

Spring posted the steepest temperature rise of 0.26 C per decade, followed by 0.24 C in winter, 0.17 C in fall and 0.12 C in summer.

Temperature rises were bigger in cities and inland areas than in coastal regions, the report said, citing increases of 0.26 C in the southeastern city of Daegu over the past 10 years; 0.24 C in Seoul; 0.2 C in both Incheon, west of Seoul, and Gangneung on the east coast; 0.18 C in Busan; and 0.1 C in the southwestern port of Mokpo.

The annual amount of precipitation in the 1991-2020 period was 135.4 mm bigger than in the 1912-1940 period, whereas the number of days of precipitation decreased by 21.2 days.

The annual precipitation has increased 17.71 mm every 10 years for the past 109 years, but the number of precipitation days declined, indicating an increased intensity of precipitation.

Moreover, there have been noticeable increases in the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, tropical nights and heavy downpours.

Heat wave and tropical night days increased by one and 8.4 days, respectively, for the past 30 years compared with the 1912-1940 period. By contrast, cold wave and freezing days decreased by 4.9 days and 7.7 days, respectively, the report said, adding heavy downpour days increased by 0.6 days.

The KMA said the acceleration of global warming will further increase the frequency of extreme climate phenomena that cause enormous damage.

The latest report that looks back on the history of the nation’s climate change has again illustrated the seriousness of climate crisis and will serve as a driving force to attain its greenhouse gas reduction target, it said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency