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Radio Free Asia: The Expert Opinion

New scientific research has found that the impact of climate change in the South China Sea and its surrounding areas on the local and global weather system could be “profound.”

The recently published study in the Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Research journal discusses the unique characteristics of climate change in the South China Sea and surrounding area (SCSSA), such as rapid warming, increased precipitation, and notable shifts in tropical cyclones.

The alterations in weather patterns within this region have a ripple effect on a global scale, influencing atmospheric circulation, oceanic currents, and the overall climate system.

The South China Sea, located in the eastern part of Southeast Asia, is renowned for its diverse biological richness and plays a crucial role in the worldwide climate system.

According to Professor Song Yang of Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China, climate change in the South China Sea and its surrounding areas has significant impacts on both regional and global weather and climate patterns.

The rise in sea surface temperatures due to global warming is leading to more powerful typhoons and hurricanes, resulting in catastrophic consequences in coastal areas.

Climate change has also disrupted rainfall patterns in the area, leading to extreme weather events like droughts or heavy rains, which significantly impact agriculture, water resources, and ecosystems. 

The study highlighted that the impacts of climate change in the SCSSA on both local and distant weather and climate extremes are likely to intensify under various projected future scenarios.

Global impacts of climate change in the SCSSA. (Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Research)

The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that the global temperature reached a record high in 2023, approaching the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold above pre-industrial levels, a key limit in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Regional temperature breakdown was not provided for the new annual average temperature of 1.45 C compared to the pre-industrial era (1850-1900), with every month from June to December setting new records.

The study also mentioned the transition from the cooling effects of La Niña to the warming influence of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean region, which is expected to lead to even warmer temperatures in 2024.

Long-term monitoring of global temperatures, alongside other indicators, provides insights into the changing climate, blamed primarily on fossil fuel usage.

Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.

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