North Korea is situated in the northern part of the East Asian continent and is known for its unique climate. The country is known for its temperate weather conditions with hot and humid summers, and cold and dry winters. Though the climate in North Korea varies with its locality, the overall climate is of a temperate variety. Despite its temperate climate, North Korea is known for its extreme weather conditions and experience of heavy rain and snowfall throughout the year. The Central Plains of North Korea experiences four distinct seasons; spring (March – May), summer (June – August), autumn (September – November) and winter (December – February).
Temperature Variation in North Korea
The temperature in North Korea fluctuates on a large scale, depending on the location. Regions of higher altitude tend to be much colder than the capital city of Pyongyang and other regions of lower elevation. Generally, the temperature in North Korea ranges from – 20°C in the winter and 30°C in the summer. The hottest areas in North Korea include Pyongyang, Sinuiju, Chongjin, and Wonsan. Temperatures here can reach up to 35°C in the summer with quite higher humidity levels. The coldest areas in North Korea are Musan and Hyesan with temperatures dropping to -30°C in the winter.
Precipitation in North Korea
Precipitation levels in North Korea are pretty considerable. Throughout the year, the country receives an average of 1,077mm of rainfall and snow, with spring season characterized by the majority of rainfall. July and August are the hottest and wettest months in North Korea and majority of the annual precipitation is received during the summer months. Pyongyang receives the highest amount of precipitation with a total of 1,388mm of rainfall over the year. The coldest months in North Korea are January and February with quite less rainfall and snowfall.
Climate Affected Regions of North Korea
The climate of North Korea is highly affected by geographical factors such as its location, topography and elevation which all contribute to the variety and complexity of the weather throughout the country. In mountainous regions such as Musan, Hyesan and Myohyangsan, the temperatures are much cooler with a humid and temperate climate throughout the year. The high altitudes and locations also cause these regions to receive the greatest amount of snowfall, as well as colder temperatures during the winter months. Coastal regions of North Korea generally experience a warmer, humid subtropical climate throughout the year.
Climate Change and North Korea
Due to the global climate change, North Korea is facing rising temperatures, dry conditions, frequent floods and higher levels of drought. According to the Climate and Society Index, North Korea is one of the countries most affected by climate changes due to its topography and location. In summertime, North Korea sees higher temperatures as well as longer dry spells which can be detrimental to their agricultural sector, leading to food shortage and instability. Due to the extreme weather conditions and unpredictable rains, North Korean farmers and citizens might face difficulty in preserving their crops, leading to massive losses in food yield.
Adaptation Strategies to Beat Climate Change
In order to effectively combat the effects of climate change in North Korea, there is a need for effective adaptation strategies to help alleviate the impact of extreme weather conditions. One adaptation strategy includes greater involvement of the government in the agricultural sector. This means providing more support to the farmers by investing in new technologies, improving soil quality and diversifying agricultural activities. Further, North Korean citizens can also look into different ways to cut down their carbon footprints such as the use of renewable energy sources and the conservation of water resources.
Public Health Impacts of North Korea’s Climate
The changing climate in North Korea also poses a major threat to the public health sector of the country. With heat waves, floods and extreme weather events on the rise, North Korea residents are exposed to a range of health risks including environmental hazards such as air pollution, water contamination, vector-borne diseases and extreme weather conditions. Heat waves cause an increase in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke and various skin diseases. Further, severe floods often lead to water-borne illnesses like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid. Hence, it is important for the North Korean health sector to take effective measure to protect the population from the health risks caused by climate change.
Economic Impacts of Climate Change in North Korea
Climate change poses a major threat to the economic development of North Korea as extreme weather events and hazardous climate conditions cause massive changes in the markets and prices. High temperatures, water scarcity and rising sea levels are also considered to be major economic threats, as they can all contribute to increased costs, reduced availability, volatile market prices and a decrease in consumer confidence. Moreover, floods, droughts and extreme weather events can disrupt the production and supply of goods and services, resulting in substantial economic losses.
Climate Mitigation Efforts in North Korea
In order to combat the negative impacts of climate change, North Korea has recently announced its National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS). This strategy outlines North Korea’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more resilient national climate adaptation and mitigation system. Some of the major goals of the NCCRS include developing energy-efficient and low-carbon infrastructure, adapting to climate change and natural disasters, and promoting public awareness of climate change. Other objectives include establishing a national monitoring and evaluation system for the implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation policies.
Public Awareness about Climate Change in North Korea
Despite the introduction of the NCCRS, North Korean citizens are still largely unaware of the direct effects of climate change on their lives and the nation. In order to effectively combat the effects of climate change, North Korean citizens need to be educated and aware of the impacts and the possible solutions. To do this, the North Korean government needs to create public awareness campaigns to teach the citizens about the potential risks climate change poses to them and how they can mitigate these risks. North Korea should also consider collaboration with other countries to promote information-exchange and research on climate change.