1m of snow on the outskirts of the capital, a day of minus 50 degrees Celsius recorded in Japan “A killer cold wave is targeting the Japanese archipelago”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

1m of snow on the outskirts of the capital, a day of minus 50 degrees Celsius recorded in Japan “A killer cold wave is targeting the Japanese archipelago”.

Everything froze over in eastern Russia and northern China 5 km above Hyogo Prefecture recorded minus 45°C, the lowest in the past 30 years

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Heavy snowfall caused heavy traffic congestion on highways and shredded the railroad network. The photo shows a massive standstill on the Hokuriku Expressway in Fukui Prefecture (Image: Kyodo News)

The sea was so rough that it looked like a typhoon. A powerful snowstorm blocked the view, and the sea surface could not be seen from the deck of the ship. …… Yoshihiro Tachibana, a professor of meteorology at the Graduate School of Mie University, who observed the Sea of Japan from January 19 to 31, said he experienced an unprecedented cold wave.

We flew a balloon from a ship off the coast of Hyogo Prefecture and observed the temperature at about 5 km above the sea, which is an indicator of a cold wave, and measured minus 45 degrees Celsius,” he said. The temperature above the coast of Hyogo Prefecture is usually minus 28 degrees Celsius, and minus 45 degrees Celsius is the lowest in the past 30 years. It is probably the lowest in the past 30 years.

In recent years, global warming has caused the westerly winds to meander more easily around the world. The westerly winds have become more westerly in recent years due to global warming, and the westerly winds have swept southward around Japan, bringing intense cold air into the archipelago (see the figure below). Mr. Tachibana continues.

What is surprising is that there is a 16°C difference between the sea surface temperature, which is warmed by global warming, and the air temperature. The temperature difference is more likely to occur in winter, but it is usually about 5°C. The larger the difference, the more water vapor increases, and the colder it is. The larger the difference, the more water vapor, and when it comes in contact with the cold air, it causes a lot of snow.”

Trains stuck for 10 hours and highways jammed for 28 hours

The westerly wind meanders around the world and swells significantly to the south near Japan. The result is a structure of intense cold air and freezing winds covering the entire archipelago.

The damage from the record-breaking snowfall was enormous: on January 24, 15 trains were stranded on the JR Kyoto Line and other lines, and about 7,000 passengers were stranded for up to 10 hours. About 7,000 passengers were trapped in crowded trains for up to 10 hours. On the following day, January 25, the Shin-Meishin Expressway, which runs along the border between Mie and Shiga prefectures, was jammed for 28 hours, with traffic jams up to 34 km long. Weather forecaster Koshi Murayama, who regularly appeared on NHK News 7 and other programs, commented, “The heavy snowfall occurred on the Sea of Japan side.

He said, “People have the impression that heavy snow falls on the Sea of Japan side, but we cannot be too careful on the Pacific Ocean side either. There are no high mountains between Hokuriku and Tokai, and snow clouds tend to drift in. The Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train line and expressways connecting the Kanto and Kansai regions may come to a halt, disrupting logistics.

Tokyo is not safe either. The period of caution is likely to continue.

The snow will be brought to Tokyo by a south coastal low pressure system that is developing along the southern coast of the Japanese archipelago and moving eastward. In many cases, the south coast low often occurs in February or March,” Tachibana said.

In fact, in February 2002, record-breaking snowfalls hit Tokyo for two consecutive weeks. In fact, in February 2002, record snowfalls hit Tokyo for two consecutive weeks, with snow accumulating over 1 m even in the suburbs of the capital.

The snow in recent years has not been as dry as it used to be, and it contains a large amount of moisture and is heavy. The weight of the accumulated snow may topple utility poles and cut power lines. If electricity is cut off and heating is disabled, lives will be in danger, especially those of the elderly,” said Murayama.

Killer cold waves are raging around the world. Yakutsk in eastern Russia recorded minus 62.7 degrees Celsius, and the city of Bakuhe in northern China minus 53 degrees Celsius. Everything is frozen. Hidenori Shimamura, a professor of geophysics at Musashino Gakuin University, tells us, “Japan is no stranger to this.

Japan is no stranger to this. The archipelago is being hit by the same cold air as in Russia and China, which has been pushed out of the Arctic. It is not surprising that minus 50 degrees Celsius could be recorded in Japan at any time.

Mr. Murayama sounds the alarm.

The most frightening thing is a whiteout, when you can’t see an inch of the road because of a blizzard. In January 2007, there was an accident in Tobetsu-cho, Hokkaido, in which a resident froze to death dozens of centimeters from his front door because he could not see his house. It can happen in Tokyo, too.”

A cold wave of minus 50 degrees Celsius would devastate the capital’s infrastructure and send people to their deaths.

From the February 17, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Photo Kyodo News

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