Korea severely hit by heavy rain, experts suggest impact of climate change and La Nina phenomenon

Although we are used to experiencing the monsoon season every year,… some experts suggest climate change has modified the patterns of rain, making it more difficult to predict. On top of that, the weather phenomenon known as La Nina is expected to arrive soon, bringing more rain to Asia. Here's Lee Ji-won with our News feature tonight. "A seasonal monsoon has wet most part of the nation for the past few days,… with several parts of the peninsula already seeing downpours,… and heavy rain alerts have been issued across most of the nation. In Seoul, it's been raining so much that the water level here at the Jamsu Bridge has topped over 6-point-2 meters, or more than three times the normal level, enough to shut it down." The low-level bridge stands at 2-meters above the river, but with the recent heavy rainfall..

. parts of the bridge and the Banpo Hangang Park have been flooded, forcing authorities to restrict the area due to safety concerns. The monsoon season, or "jangma" in Korean, kicked off last week with precipitation hitting the southern regions of the country, and expanding to the upper regions including Seoul by Monday. Daejeon, located in the center of Korea, has already received more than 268-millimeters of precipitation. Monsoon rain normally arrived in late June and ended around the first weeks of August. But in recent years, the rainy season has become unpredictable. "In the past, precipitation could be somewhat predicted. But not anymore. Even after the monsoon season ends, heavy showers dominate the forecast,… and severe rain storms have become much more frequent with sporadic, localized downpours. And numerous climate experts say this as a result of climate change.

" The expert says as climate change increases the average temperature, the amount of evaporation from land and different bodies of water increases, leading to faster condensation and eventually, more frequent precipitation. And this year, the rainfall is expected to be even more severe due to La Nina weather phenomenon. La Nina occurs when strong trade winds cause warm sea water to move to the west Pacific Ocean, lowering the temperature in the east Pacific. La Nina then causes draught in South America, while it brings severe rain to Asia. "When La Nina phenomenon is triggered, one effect on Korea is that there is less precipitation in the beginning of the summer but more towards the end. This year, the average amount of precipitation in July is expected to be less than average,…

whereas precipitation in August and September is expected to be similar or more than the amount in average years. With the monsoon pattern becoming more random and difficult to predict, experts call for measures to minimize the damage and impact of these abnormal weather conditions. "As the monsoon patterns change, weather forecasting becomes more difficult, which means there is less time to prepare against severe weather conditions. Thus we need to come up with different safety standards, especially when building structures." With the severe rain already taking a toll across the country, expert warns that both short and long-term preparations are needed, while the range of safety regulations against heavy downpours during the monsoon season needs to be widened. Lee Ji-won, Arirang News..