La Niña Japan Winter 2016/17: Some Observations

La Nina 2016/17 Japan

The war on snow in Akakura Onsen. Photo thanks to rabidK9 at

A great 2016/17 Japan winter coming up we hope!

A La Niña Japan weather event has a 70% chance of emerging by autumn, Japan’s weather bureau has said, with oceanic and atmospheric conditions indicating an emergence of La Niña conditions approaching.

The Japan Meteorological Agency’s expectation that the La Niña will appear aligns with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which puts a 75% chance of the phenomenon appearing during the fall and winter of 2016-2017.

La Niña, a natural cooling of parts of the Pacific that alters global weather and generally brings hot days to Japan during the summer months, was initially thought likely to develop before summer. However, much to relief of cities on the eastern seaboard, the forecast has been revised back to Autumn.

El Nina Japan 2016/17

Chart from the NOAA highlighting effects of La Niña Japan

The emergence of La Niña Japan was also observed from December 2005 to February 2006, when around 150 people died as a result of heavy snow across Japan. Snows were also heavy in the most recent occurrence of La Niña in 2011/12.

Will this La Niña Japan event be our last big winter?

Before we rejoice there is a sombre note. The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) has stated that whilst the Global Warming Hiatus appears to have ended in 2014, they expect a start of a reversed decadal-scale phase which may strengthen the global warming impacts. However, the winter from 2016 through 2017 may be an exception with high snowfall.

We hope this will not our last big winter but get booking now to be sure!

La Nina Japan

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