‘El Niño=Heatwave?’ Korean Peninsula Brings Rain, Not Heat

While many parts of the world are suffering from an unseasonable heat wave, Korea is expected to have a hotter-than-normal summer, especially due to the effects of El Niño, which is expected to cause a lot of localized rain in July and August, leading to hot and humid days.

The Korea Meteorological Administration released its ‘3-month weather forecast’ on the 23rd, saying that there is a 40% chance that temperatures will be similar to or above normal this summer (June-August), respectively. There was only a 20 percent chance of below-normal temperatures. While the overall forecast is for above-normal temperatures, each month will have a slightly different weather pattern, with relatively sunny days in June and cloudy and rainy days in July, the agency said. In August, the agency predicts a Southeast Asian-like weather pattern with hot and humid days followed by locally heavy rainfall.

Heat waves of over 40 degrees swept through Southeast Asia, and daytime highs in South Korea exceeded 30 degrees in May, raising concerns that the Korean Peninsula could experience a record-breaking “heat wave” this summer. There have also been numerous media reports that El Niño, which is when sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean remain 0.5 degrees above normal for more than three months, could develop into a “super El Niño” and have a major impact on this summer’s weather.

To summarize, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) predicts that this summer will be generally hotter than normal, but not as intense as the 2018 heat wave (31 heat wave days), the hottest in the last decade. “The 2018 heat wave was characterized by high temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, but now the Atlantic temperature structure is reversed,” said Kim Kyung-sook, head of the Climate Prediction Division at the Korea Meteorological Administration, adding that the number of heat wave days will be similar to normal (10.7 days).

The rise in temperatures this summer is not due to the effects of El Niño메이저놀이터, but rather to changes in the surface temperature of the ocean surrounding the Korean Peninsula and less snow cover in West Asia, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. Currently, the Philippine Sea and South Indian Ocean are experiencing warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures, while the East Indian Ocean is cooler than normal. If this condition is maintained until July, convection in the tropical western Pacific Ocean will become active and a low-pressure circulation will develop, and the opposite high-pressure circulation will strengthen near Korea, raising temperatures. In addition, the lack of snow cover in West Asia, the 1.4-degree increase in the average temperature in June over the past 50 years due to global warming, and the smaller-than-normal Arctic sea ice area will also have an impact.

El Niño, in particular, has had a greater impact on precipitation than heat this summer. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts a 60% chance of El Niño from May to July. When El Niño occurs, South Korea tends to experience increased precipitation and cooler temperatures during the summer months between mid-July and mid-August, especially in the south. The Korea Meteorological Administration predicts that the development of El Niño this summer will strengthen the low-pressure circulation near Korea, bringing in a large amount of water vapor from the south, resulting in higher-than-normal precipitation, especially in July. For June, there is a 50 percent chance that precipitation will be similar to normal (101.6 to 174.0 millimeters) and a 30 percent chance that it will be above normal. July has a 40 percent chance of being near to above normal (245.9 to 308.2 millimeters) and a 30 percent chance of being above normal, respectively. August has a 50 percent chance of near to above normal (225.3 to 346.7 mm), a 30 percent chance of above, and a 20 percent chance of below.

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