Insight: Korean water system faces major overhaul to withstand typhoons (S. Jain)

Like many nations with a growing population, South Korea is facing a major overhaul of its water infrastructure. Such an overhaul is even more important on the Korean peninsula, which bears the brunt of some of the most brutal tropical storms on the planet. And climate-change models predict even larger and stronger typhoons on the horizon.

Shaleen Jain of the University of Maine, US, and Jong-Suk Kim, now at the City University of Hong Kong, have come up with a fresh approach for analysing the nature and impact of past typhoons on the Korean water system. The climate risk analysis could help officials to make informed decisions about how and where they should adapt their current water systems to accommodate the predicted stronger storms of the future.

“South Korea is at the point at which it is going to build new dams and infrastructures on its streams,” Jain said. “If we aren’t able to characterize the kinds of climate phenomenon that affect the water supply and cause flooding, we might design our dams and infrastructure in a way that might not hold up in the future.”


Environmental Research Letters press release