Article ID: 2019-012
This study found that regional snowfall distributions in a Japan-Sea side area of Japan are controlled by intraseasonal jet variability, particularly the 10-day-timescale quasi-stationary Rossby waves across the Eurasian continent and the atmospheric blocking over the East Asian region. This study mainly focused on the Niigata area, which is representative of heavy snowfall areas in Japan. Based on previous studies, three types of dominant snowfall distributions were defined: 1) the plain (P) type, which is characterized by heavy snowfall events predominant in coastal regions of the Niigata area, 2) the mountain (M) type, which occurs in the mountainous regions, and 3) the PM type, which occurs across the whole Niigata area.
Our results revealed that all distribution types were related to the south-ward shift of the westerly jet over Japan associated with an intensified trough, i.e., cyclonic anomalies, originating from quasi-stationary Rossby waves along westerly jets over Eurasia (Eurasian jets). The cyclonic anomalies were found to be also related to blocking cyclones because the frequency of blocking events considerably increased in the East Siberian region. The mechanisms leading to the trough intensification were different among the events of the three snowfall types. The formation of Siberian blocking with relatively different positions and different paths of quasi-stationary Rossby wave packet propagation along Eurasian jets were evident in the distribution types. Therefore, local-scale snowfall distributions in the Japan-Sea side area are determined by anomalous large-scale circulations, which can be evidently distinguished in the global reanalysis data.