Note: I followed my wife, a foreign correspondent for NPR News, to Seoul last year. This is one of a series of posts exploring our adopted country’s demographics, politics and other nerdy data stuff. Let me know if you have ideas for future posts.
I’ve been in Seoul just over a year, and I can’t stay here forever, so I’m starting to think seriously about the next city. For me, a key consideration is weather (and, you know, work and kids’ schools and such).
Seoul’s been pretty great, especially the relatively mild summers. But what can I expect from the next town? Here are the average monthly temperatures for the likely contenders. Some are warmer than others:
As I noted yesterday, we can expect similar weather here in Seoul as we experienced in Washington, D.C., where we lived until earlier this month. The two capital cities are located about the same distance from the Equator, along the 38th parallel north.
We’ll be in for something different this summer, however. That’s when the rains come. On average, Seoul gets about 35 inches of rain during July and August alone. To put that in perspective, our former home city, Austin, receives about the same amount annually. Seoul gets more rain in these months than most major cities in the American West, in fact.
Compare Austin, Seoul and Washington, D.C., in this chart:
The number of days with some rain also spikes a bit during the Seoul summer. Again, compare the cities:
Back in May I compared the weather in my former town, Austin, Texas, to my current home, Washington, DC. Now that I’ve lived through a summer here, I’ve revisited the topic with two simple line charts.
I love Austin, but my biggest complaint about Texas’ capitol city is the oppressive summer heat. And when I say summer, I mean April to October. Today’s high temperature is forecast to be 98 degrees, for example.
A pleasant surprise in my new city, Washington, D.C., is that I’m actually experiencing an extended spring, with average high temperatures in the lower 70s for the last several weeks. Today’s high is supposed to be 71 degrees.
While it surely will be humid in D.C., I don’t expect 30-plus days above 100 degrees, which isn’t uncommon in Austin. Weather data reinforce my hope. This interactive line chart shows the average high temperatures in both places by month. Sorry, Austin.