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A freezing December is ‘the paradox of global warming’

A freezing December is ‘the paradox of global warming’

Posted December. 25, 2017 07:36,   

Updated December. 25, 2017 07:53


“The ‘cutting wind’ each morning is quite peculiar. Another cold wave is expected at the last week of this year and I am very nervous about it,” said Jeong Tae-jin, who has been working for 11 years at the Baengnyeongdo Meteorological Station, which is located in the very front line of all domestic meteorological station.

On Christmas, which falls on Monday, fine dust that covered the entire country will be blown away with wind from the north, which is expected to present a “Clean Christmas.” However, another cold wave is on its way this week. The lowest temperature on Monday will be minus 6 degrees Celsius in Seoul, and minus 8 degrees Celsius in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province.

The “cold wave in December” is not a new phenomenon of this year alone. According to an “Analysis on the Traits of Long-Term Changes in South Korea’s Early Winter Coldness,” released by the Korea Meteorological Administration, the number of cold days in November and December has been on the increase since 2002.

During the past 10 years, the difference in temperature between December and January was 2.14 degrees on average, which is not so different. What is interesting is that the frequent cold waves in December is also because of the influence of global warming.

The balance of the North Pole has been breaking since the 2000s as global warming intensifies. “As the temperature of North Pole increased to a certain level, air torrents that blocked the coldness from the North Pole have become weak,” said analyst Lim So-yeong from the Korea Meteorological Administration’s Forecast Bureau. “As a result, the coldness of the polar region came all the way down to the Korean Peninsula, which is located in mid-latitude, creating a ‘paradox of global warming,’ where the polar region is getting warmer while the mid-latitude region is becoming colder.”

The cold wave in December this year is also largely influenced by the coldness of the North Pole.

Mee-Jee Lee image@donga.com