This year, abnormally high temperatures have been measured all around the world causing concern. According to the BBC, a number of countries in Europe encountered the warmest January on record this year. It was reported by the BBC that the temperature in January, which stayed around 8ºC on average, rose from at least 10ºC up to 20ºC.
These abnormal temperatures were not just limited to the Northern Hemisphere, but were also a problem in Australia in the Southern Hemisphere. According to The NEW DAILY in Australia, Victoria reached over 40ºC during daytime and New South Wales and South Australia also reached over 30ºC. Some regions even reported to have reached 50ºC.
Showing a different temperature - both high and low- than in previous years is called an ‘abnormal temperature phenomenon’ and the biggest reason is usually climate change. To look into the abnormal temperature phenomenon and climate change causing ecosystem change, the CBT reporter interviewed professor Lee Seung-ho, the Director of KU Climate Research Institute and professor of Geography in Konkuk University.
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us about the KU Climate Research Institute. Furthermore, please explain about the main ongoing researches.
Hello, I’m Lee Seung-ho, the Director of the KU Climate Research Institute and professor of Geography in Konkuk University. Our institute is a special affiliated research institute of Konkuk University and a research community to contribute to solving climate problems such as climate change. We also regularly issue the Journal of Climate Research specializing in climate phenomena, to revitalize climatological research. Recently, our institute is researching the world’s climate and cultures, including that of Korea focusing on issues like food, house structure, lifestyle, etc. as it is adapted to the climate of various parts of the world. We are especially focusing on the Arctic region, where climate change is severe, and in particular, the effects of climate change experienced by the natives of the Arctic, which is an extreme climate region.
2. This winter, there was abnormal temperature and weather all over the world, is there a specific reason for this?
Yes, the reason can be said to be climate change. Climate change generally refers to an increase in global average temperature and it is referred to as global warming while global heating is also used recently. However, a rise in fluctuations has also occurred in climate change, of late, in addition to change of global average temperature and many aspects of climate change detected around the world. In the mid-latitude, there is a jet stream passing between the cold air in the polar region and hot air in the equatorial region. The larger the temperature difference in the two regions, the faster the jet stream travels, and vice versa.
3. Apparently there are some cases where the climate radically changed in specific regions. When the climate of the region is changed, how many things can be affected? Also, when it occurs, are there any possibilities of the destruction of habitats because of the migration of plants and animals?
Many cultures are created and developed as people are adapted to the local climate, so it is no exaggeration to say that not only nature, but also human medicine, food, state, lifestyle, etc. are all related to climate. If the climate changes, everything that we are consider to be normal will change.
The plants and animals have a food chain that maintains the habitat. However, when new plants and animals enter into new regions, they will affect the existing ecosystem. This is why governments manage the transference of plants and animals between nations regardless of climate change. For example, the Grolar/Pizzly bear, which is a crossbreed of the Polar bear and Grizzly bear, appeared as the habitat of the two bears began to overlap. However, because the Polar bears are weaker than the grey bear, some predict that polar bears will become extinct if double mating continues or the population increases.
4. If there are any actions that students can practice in real life to slow down climate change even a little, these should be urged by the Ministry of Environment or related state agencies. Do you agree?
There are many reasons for climate change. As you know, green-house gas emission is known to be the largest problem to solve and the effort to reduce the emission is a must. As an individual, it would be helpful to use items longer before replacing them, and reduce the usage of disposable products. Basically, it is important for many people to be interested in climate change, because when you’re interested in something, you’re going to act naturally. In public or business, it is important to labor where individuals can’t reach and lead others to participate. There may be an implementation of climate change mitigation policies such as public bicycle policies, developing eco-friendly energy, or enacting/revisioning related regulations to suit reality.
5. Do you have any final words to say to the readers?
Thank you for your interest in climate change and our institute. I am sure that if everyone works to mitigate climate change and protect the environment, it will certainly help us achieve a sustainable future. If you have any questions about the climate, please don’t hesitate to contact our lab at the following email address: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By Ji Jae-lim