2019 Volume 128 Issue 1 Pages 61-75
The effects of climate change on the snow cover and glaciers, such as an acceleration of their ablation in an alpine region (where these effects are more notable), have received increased attention in recent years. However, the meteorological observation network in the Japanese alpine region is relatively undeveloped, so snow accumulation and exhaustion processes as they relate to climate change in this region are not well understood. Therefore, meteorological observations were conducted in the region from November 2002 to October 2017 and an energy balance analysis for the snow cover periods of 2011/2012 to 2016/2017 was performed. In addition, regression models were applied to model the snowmelt process and simulate the sensitivity of the snowmelt rate to increased air temperature due to climate change. Fluctuations in annual mean air temperature, vapor pressure, and wind speed were not observed during the study period. Consequently, the adjusted ablation model was used to model the snowmelt process. The sensitivity of snowmelt to increased air temperature was evident and indicated the possibility that climate change would restrain snow accumulation and thus the amount of snowmelt. These results imply that it is necessary to discuss the effects of increasing snowmelt on the natural environment, and especially to consider the mechanism by which snowmelt occurs if climate change effects become explicit.