July 17, 2018 13:45
An early heat wave with temperatures hovering above 33 degrees Celsius across Korea will linger for a month, a weatherman warned on Monday.
"This summer is likely to be one of the hottest and longest on record as the scorching heat is expected to continue until mid-August with temperatures not dropping below 30 degrees even at night in some parts," said Ban Ki-sung at meteorological information provider Kweather.
Since relevant observations began in 1907, Korea's hottest summer on record was 1994, followed by the summer of 2016, when Seoul suffered from 24 sweltering days and 32 tropical nights when the mercury did not fall below 25 degrees.
But Kweather sees the cause of this year's heat wave as somewhat different from that of 2016.
"The unusually hot temperatures during the summer in 2016 were mainly due to the El Niño phenomenon, but this year's heat wave is driven by a North Pacific anticyclone that is particularly strong as it is at the peak of its 10-year cycle and aggravated by a phenomenon called a 'heat dome' arriving from Tibet," he said.
The heat dome occurs when high pressure in the upper atmosphere acts as a lid, preventing hot air from escaping.
"The only thing that could dispel the heat is a typhoon, which could push the North Pacific anticyclone away," Ban said. "There are signs that two typhoons will pass by," he said. "Otherwise, the heat wave could persist until mid-August."
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