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Report warns of more extreme weather

Korea
Korea Herald
12/10/2010

Tangerine trees, mostly grown in the southern part of the country, could fill Seoul streets by 2040, the nation’s first report on climate change predicted.

The report, published Monday by the National Institute of Environmental Research, listed the Korean Peninsula in the category of “sensitive region to climate change,” saying its warming temperature would affect climate conditions, water resources, agriculture and health issues in the future.

The report is an abstract of the government’s white paper on climate change the nation’s first that will be finalized by the end of this year.

According to the report, the global temperature will increase 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius from 1990 to 2100. The Northern Hemisphere, in particular, will undergo a faster increase in temperature, causing natural disasters more frequently.

For instance, the average temperature of the Korean Peninsula increased 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past century, more than double the global average of 0.6 degrees Celsius.

The report predicted that weather extremes such as severe cold and heavy rainfall would happen more frequently as Korea is affected by the warming of the sea surface across the east-central and eastern Pacific Ocean, called El Nino’s warm pool.

Although the precise change in precipitation is uncertain, rainfall will be more frequent, the report said.

“Experts voice various opinions about the cause of the warming temperature. However, there is no difference in views that global warming is the most important factor,” said Choi Woo-kab, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Seoul National University.

“Unpredictable, abnormal weather will be more prevalent in the coming years,” he said, emphasizing that the weather agency needs to improve its forecast accuracy for potential natural disasters.

With the temperature getting warmer, the report added, the cultivation of semitropical products will be possible in more areas here. The cultivation area for tangerines could expand by 36 fold from now by 2040.

The higher water temperature will also raise the sea level and bring a change in sea life.

People’s health will also be affected by climate change. Skin damage caused by scorching weather will increase, while pollution could prompt the outbreak of respiratory and infectious diseases.

For food poisoning, the prevalence could increase 15.8 percent and 26.4 percent by 2050 and 2080, respectively.

As well as weather extremes, the report also indicated that more jobs would be created in fields related to climate change.

The National Institute of Environmental Research said the final climate change white paper, which analyzed some 1,500 domestic and foreign study articles, would be considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for its fifth report due in 2013 or 2014 as the Korean and Northeast Asian reference.

Established in 1988 by a U.N. initiative, the IPCC evaluates the risk of climate change caused by human activity. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

The English abstract will be discussed during the 32nd IPCC general meeting held in Busan from Oct. 11-14, the institute said.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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