Climate Dynamics

, Volume 45, Issue 7–8, pp 2273–2292 | Cite as

Changes of precipitation amounts and extremes over Japan between 1901 and 2012 and their connection to climate indices

  • Weili DuanEmail author
  • Bin He
  • Kaoru Takara
  • Pingping Luo
  • Maochuan Hu
  • Nor Eliza Alias
  • Daniel Nover


Annual and seasonal precipitation amounts and annual precipitation extreme indices for Japan were characterized for the period 1901–2012 using the Mann–Kendall Tau test, regional analysis, and probability distribution functions, and possible correlations with climate indices including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), and the sea surface temperature were explored using wavelet analysis. The results indicate that precipitation amounts exhibited a substantial dec rease at both the annual and seasonal scales, and the fluctuation became more frequent and stronger in the recent decades. Precipitation tended to be concentrated in summer and autumn throughout Japan and the southwest had higher precipitation than the southeast in the spring, summer, and autumn, with precipitation concentrated in the southeast in the winter. On a regional scale, the number of heavy precipitation days, consecutive wet days and total wet-day precipitation indicated a decreasing trend, while an increasing trend for maximum 1- and 5-day precipitation amount, precipitation in very wet days and the number of consecutive dry days. These changes have been an important issue for supplying the demand of water resources in Japan. Continuous wavelet analysis shows that there were significant periodic variations at 2–3 and 5–13 years frequency in extreme precipitation. In addition, climate indices have significant correlations with extreme precipitation, for example, there is statistically significant association between the increasing extreme precipitation and SOI.


Precipitation variation Extreme indices Climate indices Continuous wavelet transform Japan 



This study was sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41471460,  41130750), the “One Hundred Talents Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Kyoto University Global COE program “Sustainability/Survivability Science for a Resilient Society Adaptable to Extreme Weather Conditions” and “Global Center for Education and Research on Human Security Engineering for Asian Megacities”. We also wish to acknowledge Dr. Enric Aguilar and Dr. Masahito Ishihara for their comments. The first author would like to thank China Scholarship Council (CSC) for his PhD scholarships.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest in the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weili Duan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Bin He
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kaoru Takara
    • 4
  • Pingping Luo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Maochuan Hu
    • 3
  • Nor Eliza Alias
    • 4
  • Daniel Nover
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Earth Resources Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI)Kyoto University UjiKyotoJapan
  5. 5.AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Agency for International DevelopmentGhanaWest Africa

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