Rain-on-Snow (ROS) events can cause severe snowmelt hazards such as river flooding, avalanches, and landslides that have significant impacts on various sectors. The influence of climate change on the frequency of ROS events in Japan was investigated using climate projections obtained from the Database for Policy Decision making for Future climate change (d4PDF). The projected future climate in the regional model simulations showed an increase in the ROS events over the mountainous areas in Hokuriku (Sea of Japan side of Central Japan) and Hokkaido (Northern Japan) regions, where a higher amount of snowfall will still occur in the future. Characteristics of ROS events such as rainfall, snowmelt, and related runoff were also enhanced in these regions. Self-organizing maps (SOMs) were applied using the surface atmospheric circulation data to determine the dominant ROS-related weather patterns (WPs) in the present and future climate. The SOMs showed that some WPs had a significant effect on the cause of the ROS events. The differences in the impacts of climate change between the WPs were evaluated to understand the future changes in runoff and snowmelt associated with ROS events. The SOM analysis suggests that the increase in the occurrence of ROS events and the resultant enhancement in their characteristics in the future-climate projection can be attributed to the changes in the dominant ROS-related WPs (from cyclonic to cold-surge type) corresponding to variations in the freezing point line. These findings can inform water hazard and water resource management plans that aim to withstand regional climate change.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Akiyama T (1981) Time and spatial variations of heavy snowfalls in the Japan Sea coastal region. Part I. Principal time and space variations of precipitation described by EOF. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 59:578–590
Ando N, Ueno K (2015) Occurrence tendency of heavy rainfall or snowfall in the inland district of Japan in winter. Seppyo 77:397–410 (in Japanese with English abstract)
Arai R, Toyoda Y, Ohba M, Sato T, Kazama S (2020) Climate change effects on snowmelt runoff in Shogawa river basin. J Jpn Soc Civ Eng Ser G (Environmental Research), in press
Bieniek PA, Bhatt US, Walsh JE, Lader R, Griffith B, Roach JK, Thoman RL (2018) Assessment of Alaska rain-on-snow events using dynamical downscaling. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 57:1847–1863
Brigode P, Mićović Z, Bernardara P, Paquet E, Garavaglia F, Gailhard J, Ribstein P (2013) Linking ENSO and heavy rainfall events over coastal British Columbia through a weather pattern classification. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 17(4):1455–1473. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-17-1455-2013
Cassano JJ, Uotila P, Lynch AH, Cassano EN (2007) Predicted changes in synoptic forcing of net precipitation in large Arctic river basins during the 21st century. J Geophys Res 112:G04S49. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006jg000332
Cavazos T, Comrie AC, Liverman DM (2002) Intraseasonal variability associated with wet monsoons in southeast Arizona. J Clim 15(17):2477–2490. https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(2002)015<2477:ivawwm>2.0.co;2
Cohen J, Ye H, Jones J (2015) Trends and variability in rain-on-snow events. Geophys Res Lett 42:7115–7122
Endo H, Kitoh A, Mizuta R, Ishii M (2017) Future changes in precipitation extremes in East Asia and their uncertainty based on large ensemble simulations with a high-resolution AGCM. SOLA 13:7–12. https://doi.org/10.2151/sola.2017-002
Floyd W, Weiler M (2008) Measuring snow accumulation and ablation dynamics during rain-on-snow events: innovative measurement techniques. Hydrol Process 22(24):4805–4812
Freudiger D, Kohn I, Stahl K, Weiler M (2014) Large-scale analysis of changing frequencies of rain-on-snow events with flood-generation potential. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 18(7):2695–2709
Gibson PB, Perkins-Kirkpatrick SE, Uotila P, Pepler AS, Alexander LV (2017) On the use of self-organizing maps for studying climate extremes. J Geophys Res Atmos 122(7):3891–3903. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016jd026256
Hirai M, Sakashita T, Kitagawa H, Tsuyuki T, Hosaka M, Oh'izumi M (2007) Development and validation of a new land surface model for JMA's operational global model using the CEOP observation dataset. J Meteor Soc Japan 85A:1–24
Ishii Y (2017) Research trends in snowmelt hazards due to rain-on-snow events. J Jpn Assoc Hydrol Sci 47(2):119–126. https://doi.org/10.4145/jahs.47.119(in Japanese with English abstract)
Ishii Y (2019) Snow hydrological impacts due to rain-on-snow events. Low Temp Sci 77:41–48 (in Japanese with English abstract)
Ito M, Miyoshi T, Masuyama H (2000) The characteristics of the torus self-organizing map. In: Proceedings 16th Fuzzy System Symposium Akita, Japan Society for Fuzzy and Systems, pp. 373–374.
Iwamoto K, Nakai S, Sato A (2008) Statistical analyses of snowfall distribution in the Niigata area and its relationship to the wind distribution. SOLA 4:45–48. https://doi.org/10.2151/sola.2008-012
Jeong DI, Sushama L (2018) Rain-on-snow events over North America based on two Canadian regional climate models. Climate Dyn 50:303–316
Kawase H, Murata A, Mizuta R, Sasaki H, Nosaka M, Ishii M, Takayabu I (2016) Enhancement of heavy daily snowfall in central Japan due to global warming as projected by large ensemble of regional climate simulations. Clim Change 139(2):265–278. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1781-3
Kawase H, Sasai T, Yamazaki T, Ito R, Dairaku K, Sugimoto S, Sasaki H, Murata A, Nosaka M (2018) Characteristics of synoptic conditions for heavy snowfall in western to northeastern Japan analyzed by the 5-km regional climate ensemble experiments. J Meteorol Soc Jpn Ser II 96(2):161–178. https://doi.org/10.2151/jmsj.2018-022
Kawase H, Imada Y, Sasaki H, Nakaegawa T, Murata A, Nosaka M, Takayabu I (2019) Contribution of historical global warming to local-scale heavy precipitation in western Japan estimated by large ensemble high-resolution simulations. J Geophys Res 124:6093–6103. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JD030155
Kohonen T (1982) Self-organized formation of topologically correct feature maps. Biol Cybern 43(1):59–69. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00337288
McCabe GJ, Clark MP, Hay LE (2007) Rain-on-snow events in the western United States. Bull Am Meteor Soc 88:319–328
Mizuta R, Murata A, Ishii M, Shiogama H, Hibino K, Mori N, Arakawa O, Imada Y, Yoshida K, Aoyagi T, Kawase H, Mori M, Okada Y, Shimura T, Nagatomo T, Ikeda M, Endo H, Nosaka M, Arai M, Takahashi C, Tanaka K, Takemi T, Tachikawa Y, Temur K, Kamae Y, Watanabe M, Sasaki H, Kitoh A, Takayabu I, Nakakita E, Kimoto M (2017) Over 5,000 years of ensemble future climate simulations by 60-km global and 20-km regional atmospheric models. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 98(7):1383–1398. https://doi.org/10.1175/bams-d-16-0099.1
Musselman KN, Lehner F, Ikeda K, Clark MP, Prein AF, Liu C, Barlage M, Rasmussen R (2018) Projected increases and shifts in rain-on-snow flood risk over western North America. Nat Clim Change 8:808–812
Ohba M (2013) Important factors for long-term change in ENSO transitivity. Int J Climatol 33(6):1495–1509. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.3529
Ohba M (2019) The impact of global warming on wind energy resources and ramp events in Japan. Atmosphere 10:265. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10050265
Ohba M, Ueda H (2006) A role of zonal gradient of SST between the Indian ocean and the western pacific in localized convection around the philippines. SOLA 2:176–179. https://doi.org/10.2151/sola.2006-045
Ohba M, Ueda H (2009) Role of nonlinear atmospheric response to SST on the asymmetric transition process of ENSO. J Clim 22(1):177–192. https://doi.org/10.1175/2008jcli2334.1
Ohba M, Sugimoto S (2019) Differences in climate change impacts between weather patterns: Possible effects on spatial heterogeneous changes in future extreme rainfall. Clim Dyn 52:4177–4191. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-018-4374-1
Ohba M, Sugimoto S (2020) Impacts of climate change on heavy wet snowfall in Japan. Clim Dyn 54:3151–3164. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-020-05163-z
Ohba M, Kadokura S, Yoshida Y, Nohara D, Toyoda Y (2015) Anomalous weather patterns in relation to heavy precipitation events in Japan during the Baiu season. J Hydrometeorol 16(2):688–701. https://doi.org/10.1175/jhm-d-14-0124.1
Ohba M, Kadokura S, Nohara D (2016a) Impacts of synoptic circulation patterns on wind power ramp events in East Japan. Renew Energy 96:591–602. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2016.05.032
Ohba M, Kadokura S, Nohara D, Toyoda Y (2016b) Rainfall downscaling of weekly ensemble forecasts using self-organizing maps. Tellus A Dyn Meteorol Oceanogr 68(1):29293. https://doi.org/10.3402/tellusa.v68.29293
Ohba M, Kadokura S, Nohara D (2018) Medium-range probabilistic forecasts of wind power generation and ramps in Japan based on a hybrid ensemble. Atmosphere 9(11):423. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9110423
Pall P, Tallaksen LM, Stordal F (2019) A Climatology of rain-on-snow events for Norway. J Clim 32:6995–7016. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0529.1
Putkonen J, Roe G (2003) Rain-on-snow events impact soil temperatures and affect ungulate survival. Geophys Res Lett. https://doi.org/10.1029/2002GL016326
Rennert KJ, Roe G, Putkonen J, Bitz CM (2009) Soil thermal and ecological impacts of rain on snow events in the circumpolar Arctic. J Clim 22(9):2302–2315
Reusch DB, Alley RB, Hewitson BC (2007) North Atlantic climate variability from a self-organizing map perspective. J Geophys Res 112:D02104. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006jd007460
Sui J, Koehler G (2001) Rain-on-snow induced flood events in Southern Germany. J Hydrol 252(1):205–220
Surfleet CG, Tullos D (2013) Variability in effect of climate change on rain-on-snow peak flow events in a temperate climate. J Hydrol 479:24–34
Tachibana Y (1995) A statistical study of the snowfall distribution on the Japan Sea side of Hokkaido and its relation to synoptic-scale and meso-scale environments. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 73:697–715
Takano I (2002) Analysis of an intense winter extratropical cyclone that advanced along the south coast of Japan. J Meteorol Soc Jpn Ser II 80(4):669–695. https://doi.org/10.2151/jmsj.80.669
Troccoli A, Dubus L, Haupt SE (eds) (2014) Weather matters for energy. Springer, New York, p 528
Ueda H, Kibe A, Saitoh M, Inoue T (2015) Snowfall variations in Japan and its linkage with tropical forcing. Int J Climatol 35(6):991–998. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4032
Whitaker AC, Sugiyama H (2005) Seasonal snowpack dynamics and runoff in a cool temperate forest: lysimeter experiment in Niigata, Japan. Hydrol Process 19:4179–4200
White AB, Moore BJ, Gottas DJ, Neiman PJ (2019) Winter storm conditions leading to excessive runoff above California's oroville dam during January and February 2017. Bull Amer Meteor Soc 100(1):55–70
Yamazaki A, Honda M, Kawase H (2019) Regional snowfall distributions in a Japan-Sea side area of Japan associated with jet variability and blocking. J Meteorol Soc Jpn Ser II 97(1):205–226. https://doi.org/10.2151/jmsj.2019-012
The Database for Policy Decision making for Future climate change (d4PDF), which is produced under the Program for Risk Information on Climate Change (SOUSEI Program) is used in this study. This research is partially supported by JSPS KAKENHI, grant numbers JP “17K18426” and “19H01377” and the Integrated Research Program for Advancing Climate Models (TOUGOU) Grant Number JPMXD0717935561 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Ohba, M., Kawase, H. Rain-on-Snow events in Japan as projected by a large ensemble of regional climate simulations. Clim Dyn 55, 2785–2800 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-020-05419-8
- Climate change
- Rain-on-Snow events
- Regional climate modeling
- Self-organizing map
- Snowmelt flood
- Ater resource
- Weather patterns