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An October typhoon heading to Korea

Posted October. 05, 2018 07:46,   

Updated October. 05, 2018 07:46

한국어

Trami, the 24th typhoon of the season, dealt a critical blow to Japan on Sunday. With the country under the monster’s influence, a 11-meter-long light house as well as street trees were blown far away. Prior to Trami, the 21st typhoon Jebi swept right through Japan on Sept. 4, claiming 11 lives in Japan. It overthrew a long-haul truck upside down, and parked cars were rolled chaotically by the typhoon.

This year has been a painful period for Japan with several devastating typhoons hitting the country so hard. On the other hand, only one typhoon, Soulik, influenced on Korea late August, which had been expected to be the last unwelcome guest of the season. The 25th typhoon Kong-rey, however, moves northward fast to the Korean Peninsula. It is a rare case where a tropical storm is headed to Korea in October with autumn vibes all over the country. According to the National Typhoon Center, Korea has seen 349 typhoons, or an annual average of 3.1, since 1904 when weather data started to be collected, through last year. Among nine tropical storms that influenced Korea in October, three happened after 2013.

Such a rare October typhoon is seen as one of extreme weather events relevant to global warming. By definition, a typhoon is a tropical low-pressure that occurs southwest of the Northern Pacific Ocean. As it takes place above a heated oceanic area, it loses power in low water temperatures. However, climate change has not allowed surface temperatures in the ocean to go down to the level that is supposed to be measured in the middle of autumn, while keeping a cold high pressure on land from developing to prevent against a typhoon. It is the case across the globe, raising concerns over even a winter typhoon, not to mention an autumn one. Indeed, western Europe such as the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium was hit hard by a horrific typhoon this January.

The magnitude of a typhoon depends on the maximum wind speed of its eye. A strong wind as fast as 40 meters per second or above can blow away cars and rocks. Typhoon Kong-rey is classified as a mid-sized typhoon with the maximum speed of 40 meters per second. Even as it changes its path, most parts of the country will come under the influence of the typhoon this weekend, requiring thorough measures to be taken to minimize damage. Climate change is becoming palpable with an increasing number of wake-up calls including a belated typhoon as well as record-breaking heatwaves.


mskoh119@donga.com