Korea's climate will change much faster than previously believed, a government report says, and the country will see the same amount of change over the next decade as over the whole of the last century.
Temperatures will rise four times faster than in the last four decades (1971-2010), when the average rise was 1.4 degrees Celsius. Over the next 10 year they will increase by up to 1.5 degrees.
The Korea Meteorological Administration, which led the study in collaboration with eight governmental bodies including the Ministry of Environment, analyzed climate change in Korea based on climate change scenarios released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year.
The report is released Tuesday but the Chosun Ilbo has seen an advance copy. It says Korea's temperature rose 1.8 degrees on average over the last century, but the annual average temperature will be 13.8 degrees by 2020, up 1.5 degrees over the decade, and 15.5 degrees by 2050.
A government official said, "According to the IPCC's earlier prediction, the temperature will increase 2 degrees Celsius on average by 2050. But the new report predicts an increase of 3.2 degrees, up 60 percent from the IPCC's. This means climate change is proceeding much faster than expected."
With glaciers melting as a result of rising temperatures, the sea level in Korea will rise up to 27 cm, 2.8 times as much as previously expected, by 2050.
Annual average rainfall will be 1,378 mm by 2020, up 9 percent from the recent 30-year average of 1,264 mm, and 1,461 mm, up 15.6 percent, by 2050.
Extreme weather such as sweltering heat, tropical nights (when temperatures stay above 25 degrees), and torrential rains, will also likely soar by 2050.
A heat wave across the country last year lasted 8.8 days, but that will increase to 10.3 days by 2020 and 25.1 days by 2050. In Seoul, there were 7.8 tropical nights last year, but in 2020 there will be 11 and by 2050 31.6 days.