Extraordinary persistence of foehn observed in the Hokuriku district of Japan in the 1999 summer

Hiroyuki Inaba, Ryuichi Kawamura, Takahiro Kayahara, Hiroaki Ueda

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An unusually prolonged foehn was observed at Toyama in the Hokuriku district, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan of central Japan, from 30 July to 3 August 1999. A 5-day foehn is extraordinarily persistent and was not observed during the 24-year period 1975-1998, which makes the 1999 summer quite exceptional. While an anticyclone east of Japan is intensified over the 5-day period, a combination of the anticyclone with a rapidly developing cyclone over southeastern Siberia and a typhoon migrating northward into the East China Sea induces a definite intensification of southerly geostrophic winds over central Japan, a favorable condition for the occurrence of unusually prolonged foehn. Observational and model results show that on a monthly mean basis, a noticeable east-west pressure gradient around Japan is present due to the prominence of the Pacific and Japan (PJ) teleconnection pattern in response to tropical convective heating, resulting in reinforcing southerly geostrophic winds across central Japan. Once large-scale circulation anomalies are initiated and sustained as a result of such an extratropical response, the development and movement of adjacent synoptic-scale disturbances are largely regulated by those anomalies. A combined effect of the excitation of the PJ pattern and associated synoptic-scale disturbances is crucial for the extraordinary persistence of foehn along the coast of the Sea of Japan. The PJ pattern that appeared in July 1999 has an unusual geographical location and configuration because enhanced cumulus convection over the warm pool region of the western North Pacific is significantly displaced about 20° westward and 2-3° northward, compared to the typical hot summer that Japan experiences. This displacement is presumably attributed to a similar shift of distinctive warm SST anomalies over the warm pool region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-594
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Meteorological Society of Japan
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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