March in Seoul this year appears to be the warmest March since weather forecast began in South Korea. Thanks to the higher temperatures, the cherry blossom season arrived earlier than any time before since 1922.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the average temperature in March stood at 8.9 degrees Celsius, an all-time high since the country began to collect the information in 1973. The average highest temperature and the average lowest temperature within the day in March were also highest in history.
Cherry blossoms bloomed much earlier thanks to a warm March. The first cherry blossoms in Seoul this year came on March 24, 17 days earlier than the normal year and three days early compared to last year. This is the fastest pace since 1922. Other major cities – Daejeon, Gwangju, Daegu, Busan, and Jeju – also saw their first cherry blossoms six to 18 days earlier than the average year.
The weather bureau explains that the unusually cold air in the North Pole was blocked by a combination of strong polar vortex and jet stream, resulting in a jump in March temperatures on the Korean Peninsula. “More than 10 years ago, the temperatures and precipitations became volatile,” explained an official from the KMA. “The trend will continue where springs and summers begin earlier than normal and winters get shorter.”