Guest essay by Eric Worrall The Japan Meteorological Agency thinks global warming will lead to heavier snowfall in Northern Japan. According to writer Susumu Yoshida of the Asahi Shimbun, a prominent Japanese national newspaper; Global warming will bring more heavy snow in northern Japan Logic would tell us that continuing global warming will lead to […]
Global warming will bring more heavy snow in northern Japan
Logic would tell us that continuing global warming will lead to less snowfall, but the opposite will be true in some areas of northern Japan, according to a meteorological simulation.
By the end of this century, while the country as a whole will receive a smaller amount of snow, Hokkaido and inland areas of the Hokuriku region will experience more frequent heavy snowfalls, the Meteorological Research Institute of the Japan Meteorological Agency announced Sept. 23.
The reasoning behind the prediction is that larger amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere caused by higher temperatures will make it easier for belts of snow clouds to develop above the Sea of Japan when the air pressure pattern is typical of the winter.
According to the results of the institution’s precise simulation, the Japanese archipelago will have lighter snowfall during the winter, if the mean annual temperature increases three degrees from the current level between 2080 and 2100.
Tracking original source material is a bit tricky because I don’t read or write Japanese, but the following appears to be part of an official Japanese Meteorological Report – though I am not sure if it is the source material referenced by Yoshida.
Snowfall in winter (December – March) is projected to decrease under both scenarios A1B and B1, in most areas except Hokkaido. The projected decrease for scenario A1B is greater than that for B1.
The projected increase in snowfall at high altitudes in Hokkaido for scenario A1B is greater than for the B1.
The frequency of heavy snowfall is projected to increase at high altitudes in Hokkaido. The projected rate of increase for scenario A1B is greater than that for B1.
In most areas except Hokkaido, the frequency of heavy snowfall is projected to decrease for scenario A1B more than that for B1.
All I can say is thank goodness we are not experiencing global cooling, otherwise we might have no snowfall at all.
U Study Finds That Increased Temperatures Reduce Toxin Tolerance of Some Animals
Research conducted by U Ph.D. student Patrice Kurnath finds that at warmer temperatures the toxin tolerance of certain mammals is reduced — adding yet another problem to the growing list of environmental complications due to global warming.
Plants often generate toxins as a natural defense. Desert woodrats, the plant-eating species used by Kurnath and chair of the U’s biology department Denise Dearing in the study, generate certain enzymes to counteract the effects of these toxins that are ingested when consuming the plants.
“We’re answering the big question of how warmer temperatures might be affecting animals that eat plants and how they deal with the toxins produced by those plants,” Kurnath said.
The diet of desert woodrats, which are common in Utah and western North America, consists mainly of creosote bush, which produces so many toxins in its resin that laboratory rats often die eating the same amount as the desert woodrats.
The idea behind the experiments hypothesized that as woodrat toxin tolerance levels decreased with temperature increases, that they would reduce food intake and lose weight. Woodrats were removed from the experiment if they lost more than 10 percent of their body weight.
“[Kurnath] really pushed the envelope with this work and expanded knowledge from a different study,” Dearing said. “Not only did she work with different species and a different toxin, she did processes and experiments we have never done before.”
Desert woodrats were able to eat more food at cooler temperatures in both experiments at the end of the research, while almost all of the woodrats in higher temperature climates were removed due to weight loss.
“The most recent study found that warmer temperatures resulted in reduced tolerance in rats,” Kurnath said.
This research adds another dimension to the problems associated with global warming for these species as they deal with an increasingly more toxic diet.
“Not only are surface temperatures increasing, severe weather storms, this is another obstacle that these woodrats and other species are going to have to face,” Kurnath said.
Kurnath plans to extend the study by “digging deeper” into the liver functions and genetic structure of these mammals consuming a highly toxic diet and by “stepping back” and examining their behavior in lab settings. Dearing is working on studying this same trend in marsupials and expects to see results by next year.
Dearing said, “We hope that it will inspire research in other species of mammals.”