Thursday, February 9, 2023

From China to Japan, extreme cold is gripping East Asia. Experts say it’s the ‘new norm’ | CNN

Hong Kong

Tens of thousands and thousands of individuals throughout East Asia braved a extreme chilly snap Wednesday as subzero temperatures and heavy snow introduced journey chaos in the course of the Lunar New Year vacation, with local weather consultants warning that such excessive climate occasions had turn out to be the “new norm.”

South Korea has issued heavy snow warnings this week as temperatures within the capital Seoul fell as little as minus 15 levels Celsius (minus 5 levels Fahrenheit) and plummeted to report lows in different cities, officers mentioned.

On the favored vacationer island of Jeju, harsh climate led to the cancellation of a whole lot of flights whereas passenger ships have been pressured to remain in port as a result of enormous waves, based on the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

“Cold air from the North Pole has reached South Korea directly,” after touring by way of Russia and China, Korea Meteorological Administration spokesperson Woo Jin-kyu instructed CNN.

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Woo mentioned that whereas scientists took a long-term view of local weather change, “we can consider this extreme weather – extremely hot weather in summer and extremely cold weather in winter – as one of the signals of climate change.”

Across the border in Pyongyang, North Korean authorities warned of utmost climate circumstances because the chilly wave swept by way of the Korean Peninsula. Temperatures in elements of North Korea have been anticipated to dip beneath minus 30 levels Celsius (minus 22 levels Fahrenheit), state media reported.

In neighboring Japan, a whole lot of home flights have been canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday as a result of heavy snow and robust winds that hampered visibility. Major carriers Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways canceled a mixed complete of 229 flights.

High waves caused by a snowstorm on Jeju island, South Korea, January 24, 2023.

Meanwhile, high-speed trains have been suspended between the northern Fukushima and Shinjo stations, Japan Railway Group mentioned.

China’s meteorological authority has additionally forecast huge temperature drops in elements of the nation and on Monday issued a blue alert for a chilly wave – the bottom stage in a four-tier warning system.

Mohe, China’s northernmost metropolis, on Sunday noticed temperatures drop to minus 53 levels Celsius (minus 63.4 levels Fahrenheit) – its coldest ever recorded, meteorologists mentioned. Ice fog – a climate phenomenon that happens solely in excessive chilly when water droplets in air stay in liquid kind – can also be anticipated within the metropolis this week, native authorities mentioned.

Tourists pose for photos in front of a thermometer reading -11.3 degrees Celsius (11.6 F), in Otaru, Hokkaido prefecture of northern Japan on January 24, 2023.

Yeh Sang-wook, a local weather professor at Hanyang University in Seoul, attributed the intense chilly wave on the Korean Peninsula to arctic winds from Siberia, including that extra snow in South Korea this yr was as a result of melting of Arctic ice caps from a warming local weather.

“There has been a record melting last year and this year,” he mentioned. “When sea ice is melted, the sea opens up, sending up more vapor into air, leading to more snow in the north.”

As local weather change worsens, the area would face extra extreme chilly climate sooner or later, he mentioned.

“There is no other (explanation),” he mentioned. “Climate change is indeed deepening and there is a consensus among global scientists that this kind of cold phenomenon will worsen going forward.”

Kevin Trenberth, from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), agreed that “extreme weather events are the new norm,” including, “we certainly can expect that weather extremes are going to be worse than they were before.”

He additionally pointed to the El Niño and La Niña local weather sample cycles within the Pacific Ocean that have an effect on climate worldwide.

La Niña, which usually has a cooling impact on international temperatures, is likely one of the causes for the present chilly snap, he mentioned.

“There’s certainly a large natural variability that occurs in the weather but … we often hear about the El Nino phenomenon and at the moment we’re in the La Niña phase. And that certainly influences the kinds of patterns that tend to occur. And so that’s a player as well,” he mentioned.

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