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Fickle Weather

Posted August. 11, 2007 07:09,   


Jang Ji-eun (27, female) had an interesting experience in a crosswalk in Jeokseon-dong, Jongno-gu yesterday. On the other side of the street it was pouring rain, while the side she was standing on was just experiencing a drizzle. This lasted for about ten seconds. When she told her friend what just happened on the phone, she responded, “It’s sunny here!”

In August, rain is dispersed throughout the country, raining in one neighborhood while the sun shines in the next. After the rainy season is finished, Korea’s typical summer weather is characterized by sweltering heat and extreme humidity. Some say that Korea’s summers are becoming more subtropical, and that torrential rainfalls are increasing in frequency because of global warming.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), daily precipitation in Seoul on average was around 8.7 mm during this year’s wet season. However, after the rainy season passed, it has rained much more– up to 16.2mm. Daily nationwide precipitation was 8.9 mm during the wet season, and the figure went up by nearly 30% to 12.8 mm after that.

Climatologists say, “The warming of the globe is making the atmosphere around the Korean Peninsula unstable, making this subtropical phenomenon not some sort of freak weather pattern occurring in Korea, but rather a characteristic of Korean weather.” This means that the torrential downpours will be more frequent in the future.

The KMA said that between 1954 and 1963, 23.5 days had 80 mm or more rain annually, while between 1996 and 2005, the number went up to 36.7 days. In particular, between 1996 and 2005, it rained more than 50 mm 25 times, while between 1976 and 1985 the incidence was only 14 times.

Many office workers said, “My vacation is being ruined because I planned vacation dates like I did last year.” Office worker Choi Jeong-ho (36) said, “I was at a bathhouse with my family during my entire summer vacation for five days starting from August 6.”

However, retailers are overjoyed. CJ Home Shopping announced that its revenue grew by 10% year-on-year. Lotte. Com, an Internet shopping mall, which saw its monthly revenues in July and August last year fall by 15% compared to the previous month of June, said that its monthly revenue increased by around 8% during the same period this year. Yoon Hyeon-joo, deputy-manager of Lotte. Com, said, “Due to the fickle weather, people tended to stay home shopping on TV or online.”

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