Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Heavy Snows the latest in Japan's Spate of Anamalous Precipitation

In the winter of 2013, northern Japan experienced extreme cold and huge snowfalls, later that summer the country was hit by unprecedented rains, and now much of the nation has been slammed by historic snowfalls. On the 8th and 9th of February significant accumulations of snow disrupted air and rail service all across Japan.

One of Asia’s busiest airports, the Haneda Airport was forced suspend all air traffic and railway services of Shinkansen bullet trains were suspended due to the heavy snowfall. Much of Tokyo and surrounding areas received up to 16 inches of snow. The storm has caused the deaths of at least three people and hundreds of others have suffered snow-related injuries.

There were over 13,000 blackouts across Tokyo as well as four other prefectures. In the midst of the deluge citizens of the capital headed out to cast their vote for the Tokyo gubernatorial election of 2014.

During the winter of 2013 parts of Northern Japan got 5.5m (18 feet) metres of snow. Across northern Japan, 13 places experienced record winter snowfall records in 2013.

While it is hard to know for sure if these increases in precipitation are attributable to climate change, we do know that Japan is getting hotter. More heat is increasing evaporation and this may be causing more rain and snow to fall on the island.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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