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Discussion in 'Alpine & Snow' started by Sandy, Sep 14, 2010.
Any chance of this weekend being a season starter or are we going to have to wait a bit longer?
Next weekend i would imagine, they should get a nice dump starting Sunday for a few days, then later next week.
Yeh next week looking pretty good for some snow in Hokkaido. After that is a bit uncertain, forecast has mostly been showing a warming trend, however i'll give it a few more days to sort itself out.
Christie dowling will be back next week on the flake
Coming week looking a lot better for Hokkaido, still a little too warm for classic Honshu snow IMO. But its coming!
It's a long way out, but looks like the first really big cold outbreak for around 8-11th December, might be on the cards!!!!
Looks like snow around 3rd-4th December as well, but I wouldn't call it a big cold outbreak....
And I would suggest not a whole lot to village levels for a lot of Honshu (i.e. 600-900m asl). But it's coming IMO!
3rd and 4th.
The freezing levels on most of the models are very rarely correct from my observations outside my office at 760 meters. They are consistently between 300 and 400 meters too high. I think the mountains have such an affect from the systems going from sea level to hitting a 3000 meter wall of mountains it is difficult to give an accurate prediction from the other side of the range.
True, but I'd still be surprised to see any significant falls to village level. But I hope I'm wrong.
TJ are you talking about the freezing levels predicted by snow-forecast? I've found them to be reasonably accurate up here. Obviously they can't take into account localised factors into the models but overall I've found the freezing level predictions to be fairly good. The actual snowfall amounts they predict though can be way off as again they can't take into account a whole lot of localised factors including the sea effect snow and localised orographic effects. Remember too that snow can fall to quite a bit lower than where the freezing level is. If the relative humidity is high then the lapse rate can be quite low. So although the freezing level might be at 1000m snow could easily fall and settle to a few hundred metres below this.
Also be aware that in a valley in the lee of a mountain range you can often get an inversion. So although it may be quite cold down low you may still have to go quite high to reach the freezing level.
I also find FL from the models to be reliable. Hakuba temps in the valley get above freezing every day far more often than not and the models typically predict just that. Plus, accounting for inversions and the below details (free-air FL), I use the forecasts reasonably reliably. If anything, snow-forecast.com predict colder temps than we get here in Hakuba. For the record, I carry a digital thermometer with me all the time in the mtns, an use it about 3 times a day (all avalanche workers do, I am not some strange geek)
Also, the details of FL on snow-forecast.com are worth understanding:
Yep includes snow forecast and the same goes in Hakuba with their snow depths being well under quoted.
Is it more often the case, that the snow will settle lower than the freezing level or just a common occurance? This may be just what I am observing..
Generally speaking i thought in Oz the BOM seemed to be more accurate with freezing levels and snow levels closely matching. Take into account I did not do seasons there.
I am upgrading my thermometer this year so I will have more accurate information.
Snow will generally fall to lower levels than the freezing level. It doesn't really start melting until it reaches temps above freezing and if the lapse rate is say somewhere around 0.7 degress per 100m then it will only be 2 degrees a few hundred metres below the FL. It will start getting pretty wet at that level but may still carry on another 100m or so down as snow before turning to sleet and then rain. It does depend on a number of factors though as you may have noticed that sometimes you can also have temps near freezing but it's raining.
Also as damian quoted from snow-forecast although it may reach near freezing level overnight in the valley the free-air freezing level may still be up near 2000m.
Just a quick question on lapse rates and snow/rain, at Buller (my home mountain) a Westerly is deadly. It can be -2C but with a westerly wind we will get rain. Is there any scenario in Japan that produces similar results?
What you have described GN is an inversion, something as far as im aware no model takes into account for such small scale situations.
I'm sure you've seen my posts on Buller, indicating the reason I think that happens on a westerly: The air rises from about 400m to 1800m in only 2km, meaning that the air rises too quickly to cool sufficiently.
e.g. If the air was 8 degrees at 400m, then it's likely to drop to maybe 5 degrees as it rises in only 2km (even though it's -2 in the village). On a NW wind, it traverses high ground (> 1000m) for maybe 20-30km, so by the time it reaches Buller, it might have cooled to 0 degrees, with further rising.
At sea level in Victoria, you can expect it to be around +13 to +17 on a NW pre-frontal wind.
In Japan, the bulk of the snow doesn't come with a cold front/low pressure. It's comes on a north to NW wind. The wind is cold, so you can expect the sea level temperature to be between minus degrees to maybe +3. The air then rises across coastal ranges, up between 200-800m, before it hits the Japan Alps, which around the resorts, is generally around 1400-1800m(but they rise to close to 3000m in places). This means that on that northerly, it's usually minus degrees down as far as 0m-400m. And the northerly also brings the "lake effect"!!!!!!
Ironically, a low pressure trough moving across Japan will often bring rain!!!!!
Still looking good for "epic" snow around these dates IMO.
Do the same principles apply for Hokkaido and more importantly Niseko?
PS you can get snow at Buller in a Westerly but only if the parcels are 'dry' enough to accept the relatively fast cooling in a short period of time, this just doesnt happen often enough.
Cheers for the explanation.
Sounds like Heinrich might be wheeled out...
The lake effect is not as strong in Hokkaido, as the water is colder and the Sea of Japan is not as wide, but it is colder, and for much of the winter, the freeze level is down to sea level. Hokkaido also cops low pressure troughs over or just to the north, so this is a good source of snow.
If there is low pressure traversing central Japan, Hokkaido can get warm air & rain from the eastern flank of the low, as it spins anticlockwise.
Generally, Tokyo is clear and cold in winter. If there are clear skies and a fresh northerly wind in Tokyo, then it's most probably snowing in the resorts of central Japan (Tokyo is in the rain shadow of the Japan Alps). If it is raining in Tokyo, it is often raining on the snow resorts of central Japan, and possibly raining in Hokkaido (or else having a warm spell).
^^^^^^ What Sandy said
Whatever mate you're too hammered to know better
I can't argue with that
Wow, surprised you can type that
Inversions seem to be very obvious when they occur here. It's amazing to see the ice form from the rain. I have seen the major ice storms on discovery channel when they happened in Canada. How about up your way? I suppose I look at the mountains in Hakuba and they are more of a wall, where as in Niseko the systems will move across the land and rise more gradual with the contours. Would that be a fair scenario GN?
Don't drink and type over .05
(unless you have an umpaloompa addition of course)
A little wiki can be a dangerous thing. Despite the fact that Wikipedia mentions freezing rain in the first paragraph on temperature inversions...
Inversions in an alpine valley like Hakuba occur on a clear cloudless night which allows maximum radiation into the night sky. You wake to what appears to be a foggy day, and this will last into lunchtime.
They are very obvious typically only from above 2000m when everything below is in clouds, or valley fog. And everything higher is above the clouds. Sometimes the top of Happo is just sticking out of the inversion cloud layer.
Hakuba Happo top station just poking through an inversion
Another nice inversion further into the Hakuba range
Yep, nothing like some reality to turn you green.
Very wintry night in Kutchan with lots of falling and blowing snow and well below freezing t,emps. Expected to continue for the next couple of days.
The mighty Heinrich doesn't get 'wheeled out' like some faltering geriatic, he storms in out of the north on a giant shining white winged horse swinging a double edged axe & bellowing assorted profanities at the rapidly retreating back end of summer!!
But I don't think he's ready for that grand Japanese entrance just yet, although his minions are starting to prepare the way.... Up in the centre of the NW peninsula of Hokkaido, Otoineppu has accumulated 17cm on the ground since this morn & I'd say the locals would have said goodbye to the bare ground until May next year....
Snow-forecast has a rather high freeze level and wet precip later this week.
Might take Sandy's prediction of an epic Dumpenhoussen to get things kicking a bit more if that comes off.
Snowing lightly in Echoland last night and this morning. No accumulation down here but looks good on the mountain
Dumping now and sticking to the ground
A bit of "lake effect" activity today:
The ground turned white here (Hakuba) in the last 30 minutes. It is puking at my place.
The progressive satellite pics on the news last night showed it perfectly Sandy.
I can't offer much. How about a shot of my wood splitting block? Not very fulfilling if you were looking for some good new snow photography.
Too cloudy here for good pics. The webcams give as good a view of the conditions as any pics I could take. Been snowing on an off all morning and expected to continue. If it keeps up for another 24-36 hours we may just get enough to last out the mild temps and rain at the end of the week. We'll see...
How are the chickens coping with the cold Damian? Looks like a bleak day!!!
A fox killed them all! Which meant my wife and I could take a nice holiday to Tasmania.
... where the weather was exceptionally pleasant.
There is one fat fox stumbling around the valley of Hakuba.