Heat Wave Came to Early with No Sign

Roy Kim, June 21, 2017, 9:16 a.m.

Summer has only just begun, but temperatures are already scorching across Korea. Mercury levels are soaring well above 30 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country.

In Gyeongsan in North Gyeongsang Province temperatures hit 37.5 degrees on Monday, while the average high in Seoul in the middle of this month was 29.2 degrees. Although lower than the record 30.4 degrees set in 1994, temperatures have been higher than most years.

Meteorologists blame a jet stream over the northern hemisphere.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said the jet stream that flows fast around 10 km above the northern hemisphere is "unusually serpentine this year." It contains cold air and serves as a barrier separating warm and frigid air because it flows so fast, But the unusually twisted shape has resulted in abnormal temperatures around the world.

In Korea, it is exacerbated by a low-lying hot-air mass blowing in from China. A weatherman said, "A jet stream near Mongolia and Lake Baikal has gone up north causing a 'heat dome' effect as the region filled up with a hot air mass."

The summer monsoon is expected to start later than usual this year. According to the KMA, it usually begins in mid-June, but there is no sign of heavy downpours yet, although sporadic showers are expected this weekend.

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