59-year-old Professor Kim, from the National Institute of Environmental Research, said that the period between what scientists technically term ‘very hot’ conditions, and ‘very cold’, was so short this year that they didn’t qualify for season status. With no Spring or Fall, the official State records must record the occurrence of only two seasons in 2010.
While many countries throughout the world have different seasons, Korea is known to be unique in experiencing all four during the course of a year, a fact which has been taught in school textbooks since the 1950s. Indeed, Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, who visited Seoul in 1722 to learn traditional forms of Korean music which he later renamed ‘Baroque’ for his domestic audience, was so moved by the country’s four distinct seasons that he named a concerto in honor of it.
The scientists led by Professor Kim, writing in The Korea Climate Change Assessment Report 2010, said that while global temperatures have risen by 0.6 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years, the rise in Korea has been 1.5 degrees, not all of which can be explained by fallout from North Korea’s nuclear testing. It is believed that changing temperatures have resulted in shifting El Nino climatic patterns, causing Korea to have colder winters and hotter summers, with little in-between.
The Report claims the news isn’t all bad. “By 2040 the streets of Seoul could be lined with tangerine trees.” reads a bold headline, although hidden in the notes at the back is the acceptance that it will no longer be possible to grow napa cabbages in Korea, a main ingredient of kimchi.
It is feared that the revelation that Korea no longer has four seasons is likely to cause shock and bewilderment among ordinary Koreans. Fearing social unrest, the Government has already stressed how the rise in temperatures and sea levels can be used as an opportunity for job creation and the development of new business opportunities by cultivating subtropical plants and offering eco-friendly tourism. Plans are already in place to develop Daegu as a port city with building work expected to commence later next year, and diving trips to coral reefs in the submerged city of Busan are expected to be a big hit with international visitors.
But the Ministry of Public Manipulation and Insecurity has been instructed to further investigate the disappearance of Korea’s two missing seasons. Many in the Government are skeptical of the climate change theory, and some have suggested the missing seasons may have been stolen by Japan. “If this is the case” a Government spokesman told us “we shall immediately demand their return.”
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