From China to Japan, extreme cold grips East Asia. Experts say it’s the ‘new norm’

Hong Kong

Tens of tens of millions throughout East Asia braved a extreme chilly snap on Wednesday, as sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall prompted journey chaos in the course of the Lunar New Yr vacation, with local weather specialists warning such excessive climate occasions have grow to be the “new norm”.

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

On the favored vacationer island of Jeju, inclement climate prompted the cancellation of tons of of flights, in keeping with the Central Headquarters for Catastrophe and Security Response, whereas giant waves compelled passenger ships to stay in port.

“Chilly air from the North Pole reached South Korea straight,” Korea Meteorological Administration spokesman Woo Jin-kyu informed CNN after touring via Russia and China.

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Woo mentioned that whereas scientists take a long-term view of local weather change, “we will take a look at this excessive climate — extraordinarily sizzling climate in summer time and intensely chilly climate in winter — as one of many alerts of local weather change.”

Throughout the border in Pyongyang, North Korean authorities warned of maximum climate situations because the chilly snap swept throughout the Korean peninsula. Temperatures in elements of North Korea have been anticipated to drop under minus 30 levels Celsius (minus 22 levels Fahrenheit), the nation common reported.

In neighboring Japan, tons of of home flights have been canceled Tuesday and Wednesday on account of heavy snowfall and robust winds that impacted visibility. Main airways Japan Airways and All Nippon Airways canceled a complete of 229 flights.

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

In the meantime, bullet trains between northern Fukushima and Shinjo stations have been suspended, Japan Railway Group mentioned.

China’s meteorological company has additionally forecast giant temperature drops in elements of the nation and issued a blue alert for a chilly spell on Monday — the bottom degree in a four-tier warning system.

MoheIn China’s northernmost metropolis, temperatures plummeted to minus 53 levels Celsius (minus 63.4 levels Fahrenheit) on Sunday — the coldest temperatures on file, climate forecasters mentioned. ice mist – a climate phenomenon that solely happens in excessive chilly when water droplets stay in liquid kind within the air – can also be anticipated within the metropolis this week, native authorities mentioned.

Tourists pose for photos in front of a thermometer that reads -11.3 degrees Celsius (11.6 F) in Otaru, northern Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture January 24, 2023.

Yeh Sang-wook, a local weather professor at Hanyang College in Seoul, attributed the acute chilly snap on the Korean Peninsula to Arctic winds blowing from Siberia, including that extra snow in South Korea this yr is because of melting Arctic ice caps on account of warming be local weather.

“Final yr and this yr there was a file meltdown,” he mentioned. “As the ocean ice melts, the ocean opens up and sends extra steam into the air, resulting in extra snow within the north.”

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

“There isn’t any different (rationalization),” he mentioned. “Local weather change is certainly deepening, and there’s a consensus amongst international scientists that the sort of chilly phenomenon will worsen sooner or later.”

Kevin Trenberth of the US Nationwide Middle for Atmospheric Analysis (NCAR) agreed that “excessive climate occasions are the brand new norm,” including, “We are able to actually count on excessive climate occasions to be worse than earlier than.”

He additionally pointed to the El Niño and La Niña local weather sample cycles within the Pacific Ocean, which have an effect on climate around the globe.

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

“Definitely, the climate is topic to giant pure fluctuations, however … we frequently hear concerning the El Niño phenomenon and proper now we’re within the La Niña part. And that actually influences the sort of patterns that have a tendency to seem. And that is a participant, too,” he mentioned.