South Korea: Record Rainfall Drenches Seoul

    Photo: Reuters [via US News and World Report]

    The Facts

    • South Korea's capital Seoul experienced the heaviest rainfall in decades on Mon. night, which knocked out power, caused landslides, and left roads and subways submerged. At least eight people were killed.

    • Parts of Seoul received a total of 422mm (16 inches) of rain overnight, pressing authorities to raise the city to the highest emergency alert level. The city recorded 141.5mm (5.57 inches) of rain per hour, the highest rate in the 80 years since authorities began keeping records.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    South Korea often experiences heavy rains in the summertime, but this can't be explained without factoring in climate change. The sharp increase in precipitation and frequent torrential rains must be connected to the big picture climate trend - where the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme events are markedly increasing.

    Narrative B

    Although climate change may play a role in the increased rains in South Korea, the damage and flood danger the country is facing is likely caused by low building quality and the conversion of forested and agricultural lands to urbanized areas. Rapid urbanization in Seoul is exacerbating flood damage.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 5% chance that 2022 will be the hottest year on record, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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