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Impact of weather regime on projected future changes in streamflow in a heavy snowfall area of Japan


Future changes in river discharge driven by climate change are expected to affect various water-resource sectors. In this study, we investigated the influence of climate change on streamflow in a heavy snowfall area of mountainous central Japan using hydrological model simulations driven by climate projections obtained from the d4PDF database. We projected an increase in snowmelt discharge during winter and a decrease in spring, along with a general decrease in water resources and an increase in the frequency of annual maximum daily discharge during winter because of increasing future snowmelt. Self-organizing maps (SOMs) were then applied using atmospheric data to study the linkage between streamflow and weather regime patterns (WPs) in future and present climate scenarios. The SOM analysis suggested that the impacts of climate change on streamflow varied by WP. The increase in future winter discharge was due to the strengthening of impacts of certain WPs, causing snowmelt. However, the decrease during spring could be due to changes in the predominant discharge-related WPs resulting from a decreasing snowpack. The obtained results can be useful information for considering adaptation strategies for sustainable management of water resources in heavy snowfall areas that must meet both economic and environmental demands.

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This study used d4PDF produced with the Earth Simulator jointed by science programs (SOUSEI, TOUGOU, SI-CAT, DIAS) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan.

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Correspondence to Masamichi Ohba.

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Ohba, M., Arai, R., Toyoda, Y. et al. Impact of weather regime on projected future changes in streamflow in a heavy snowfall area of Japan. Clim Dyn 59, 939–950 (2022).

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  • Climate change
  • Hydrological model
  • Weather regime patterns
  • Self-organizing map
  • Snowmelt flood
  • Regional climate modeling