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 Dry Year in Japan 
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:20 pm
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Location: Kyushu, Southern Japan (33.607N latitude)
Post Dry Year in Japan
Hey guys,

For all you weather nerds, here's a run-down on this year's precipitation totals for Fukuoka, Japan (in milliliters with normals in parentheses):

Jan 62.5 (72.1) -9.6
Feb 86.0 (71.2) +14.8
Mar 46.0 (108.7) -62.0
Apr 99.5 (125.2) -25.7
May 45.5 (138.9) -93.4

For a total deficit of 165.9 mm for this year so far. In mid June the monsoonal flow makes it to Fukuoka, but so far it is still south of us mostly. This month we've only seen 43.5 mm to date and 272.1 mm is the average. It is still likely we will get in excess of 100 mm this June, but I doubt we'll reach higher than 200. This is rice planting season, so a lot of water is used to flood the patties in May and June - essentially they are just big, flat lakes that must evaporate very quickly in the hot June sun. No rationing mentioned yet, but if this keeps up we'll be in for it. The local waterfalls tell the tale though, many are at a near trickle.

How's it looking where you are?

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Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:59 am
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Location: Kyushu, Southern Japan (33.607N latitude)
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Still dry as a bone, sunny, and the daily temperature is reaching close to 30 degrees. The weather experts are calling for the beginning of the monsoon next week however, so there should be some relief in sight. If it does make it here then, it will about 2 weeks late this year.

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Botany Boy


Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:51 pm
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Location: Pagrati, Athens, Greece
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London was looking very dry last time I looked. I'll see if I can find some local records to back up my personal observations from the past few months.

I've just come back from a very hot week in Athens. The whole of June has been well above normal, and it looks to stay that way...lots of bush-fires already (over 140 last weekend alone)...the locals are already worrying about what July and August will bring.

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Dave
Pagrati, Athens, Greece
Jul/Aug av.: 33C day, 23C night
January: 13/6


Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:02 pm
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Location: Kyushu, Southern Japan (33.607N latitude)
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The rains finally kicked in mid month and yet June came in a bit dry, but at a reasonable 219 mm (53 mm below normal). That adds to this year's deficit for a total of -228.9 mm. I'd say we're on target for a dry year, but not record dry unless things get positively weird.

Raining like crazy today...true monsoon weather with the humidity pegged at 100% and 25 C, day and night. The tree ferns and all the epiphytes just love this weather!

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Botany Boy


Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:06 am
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:lol: you call that "dry"? :lol: :lol:

London's annual average is only 593mm. Your 'deficit' for June is a whole month's rain for us.

The weather station in Hampstead (north London) has recorded the following rain so far this year:

(amount in mm, percentage of average)

Jan: 50.4, 80%
Feb: 44.2, 110.6%
Mar: 24, 47%
Apr: 23.8, 42.4%
May: 30.6, 51.8%

June was also very dry in many places...and it would have been here too, apart from a massive (by UK standards) thunderstorm last weekend, which gave us nearly a month's rain in 1 hour.

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Dave
Pagrati, Athens, Greece
Jul/Aug av.: 33C day, 23C night
January: 13/6


Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:56 pm
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Location: Islington, London UK
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Dave's figures work out to 64% of our average rain since the start of 2009. That's not too good, as November & December 2008 were not exceptionally wet either.

Exacerbating the situaton is the exceptionally large number of hours of sunshine, which is accelerating transpiration and causing plants to draw more water than usual out of the soil.

I think we can expect a rash of subsidence in London this Summer, unless we get an unusually rainy month very shortly.

That prolonged cloudburst a few days ago was a crucial event. I don't know how much rain and hail fell, but I'd estimate 50mm in about 90 minutes, having watched it from beginning to end. The ensuing week has been hot (30ºC+ every day so far and still getting warmer) and the soil was extremely dry before the storm. Instead of responding to the combination of drought, sun and heat by slamming shut all of their stomata and shutting down photosynthesis, nearly all plants in my garden, from Bananas to Gingers to Palms to traditional herbaceous perennials to shrubs to - especially - the xerophytes and other succulents on the roof, are able to respond by growing rapidly in ideal conditions: heat, plentiful midsummer sun and enough water at the roots.

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Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:50 pm
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DaveN22 wrote:
:lol: you call that "dry"? :lol: :lol:

London's annual average is only 593mm. Your 'deficit' for June is a whole month's rain for us.


Hey Dave, yup, that is on the dry side for Japan. Of course evapotranspiration rates at our southern latitude are intense on sunny or breezy days, and especially on sunny days with wind. Honestly, just a handful of these days can cause havoc in the garden without watering. The monsoon has been coming later to Japan compared to past historical patterns - that is, based on the data of the last 100 years and anecdotal accounts from further back. This means that when solar radiation is at it's peak we are not getting the rain nor protection from cloud cover - a double whammy compounded by the increase in water use from flooding newly planted rice patties. The later monsoon seems to be a trend in much of Asia. India's monsoon is so late this year that the agricultural industry is truly worried - a billion mouths is lot to feed!

Yesterday, July 1st was a banner day for rain though: 97 mm fell, cutting the yearly deficit to -131.9. Not bad for one day!

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Botany Boy


Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:57 pm
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Tom: your June-July average is just short of London's annual average! I'm glad I don't have to suffer summers like that. I'm off to Athens (Feb-Nov average 269mm, which is less than you get in June alone).

David: the Hampstead data comes from here http://www.weather-uk.com/hampstead/data.htm

The data is officially recognised by the Met Office. Temperatures - especially in winter - are quite a bit lower than we experience in our more central locations; but rainfall, sunshine, and temperature variance from average are probably close to our own.

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Dave
Pagrati, Athens, Greece
Jul/Aug av.: 33C day, 23C night
January: 13/6


Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:05 am
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DaveN22 wrote:
Tom: your June-July average is just short of London's annual average! I'm glad I don't have to suffer summers like that. I'm off to Athens (Feb-Nov average 269mm, which is less than you get in June alone).


I know what you mean Dave, believe me! And yet, the summers here are nothing compared to what we got in Florida. BTW, the data shown for Fukuoka is a bit off for my area and certainly the higher elevations nearby. Fukuoka proper (where the weather station is) is a bit drier than out here by the mountains. The average annual rainfall is just over 1600 mm for that station while stations near me record closer to 2000 mm. In the mountains rainfall increases with altitude and exceeds 2000 mm annually. In terms of temperature we have similar highs in summer compared to the city, but our lows, especially in winter, are cooler by 2-3 degrees. Winter highs also are colder in general. Just over the mountains in a large basin between ranges they get much colder in winter, hotter in summer, and significantly more snow fall. The sea islands are much more moderate, rarely seeing frost, and are relatively cool in summer and warm in winter. Japan, with its complex topography and proximity to water, has a variable climate even within a given region. No doubt that plays a part in the great diversity of plants here.

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Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:49 am
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Post RAIN! RAIN! RAIN!
Wow, what a difference one month can make. The rain deficit has been all but obliterated in the last two days. As of yesterday, the Fukuoka station recorded 477.0 mm for the month (266.4 mm being normal) and it has been and will continue to rain like the dickens the rest of the day. There is a stationary front parked over Kyushu and the tropical monsoonal flow continues to pump northward along its boundary - a flow that typically dissipates in mid July. There as been over 400 mm of rain over the last 36 hours throughout the Fukuoka area and some areas no doubt will see in excess of 500 mm before this event is over.

So, for the year, the Fukuoka station has recorded 1035.5 mm to date (1054.6 mm normal) cutting the deficit to within two centimeters. That of course is not counting the incredible rain coming down right now! As I said before, my area is closer to the mountains and rainfall is considerably more here. The nearby station at Iizuka has a total of 535.5 mm for the month of July, probably very similar to the total for my area.

Been waiting for Noah to show up! I wonder what the typhoons will be like this fall - so far it has been quiet, but that can change come September...

***UPDATE 7/27***

New tally for Fukuoka - July total: 617.5; annual to date: 1176.0

That means for the last three days this station received over 400 mm. No doubt many spots came closer to the 1 meter mark over the same period. Flooding was intense in many areas and short term evacuation was necessary in parts of town near rivers and creeks. A couple people died in landslides just up the valley from me. Today however, it blue skies.

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:33 pm
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Post Flooding Pics
I went out for a ride today to see what the flood damage was. Several areas were inaccessible due to road wash outs and landslides. Here are a few shots I managed to get.

The valley I live on the edge of has a fairly large river with numerous, but small tributary streams. Here is one that overran its banks and flooded out the street and nearby fields just the day before. Even today, the water level was around 2 meters above normal. Usually this little creek is no more than a trickle a few centimeters deep:

Image

One of the worst problems in Japan with rain events like this is landslides. Here is a typical one on a hillside adjacent to a small reservoir. Such slides absolutely destroy everything in their path and that is the main reason why there are few houses in the mountains:

Image

Here is the reservoir all muddied from the intense erosion upstream. The water is usually blue-green:

Image

A beautiful, gentle creek with lovely rapids and waterfalls feeds the reservoir. Today, part of the creek is now blocked with a landslide that took a large patch of moso bamboo directly into the center of it.

Image

Just upstream from the last shot is a beautiful triple cascade waterfall alongside a shrine. Usually the plunge pool is a nice place to swim and the fall is mellow enough such that you can sit directly in it without getting washed off. Today it was a different scene. The little rock beach had been severely eroded away and good sized trees littered the watercourse. What was impressive was that their bark had been nearly completely scraped off from the power of the water. A day earlier, the water was much higher than pictured here, at least by a meter. Must have been scary at that time!

Image

I don't think this flood was a record, but it was probably one of the worst this valley has seen recently. Only two people were killed when a landslide took out their home. Today is cool, like early autumn, and that is supposed to continue on tomorrow. Yes, we are having a strange summer so far.

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Botany Boy


Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:43 am
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Great pictures, Tom!

I hope I never experience that sort of rain. A few (brief) thunderstorms in a Mediterranean winter are quite enjoyable after the summer drought, but I wouldn't want more than that.

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Dave
Pagrati, Athens, Greece
Jul/Aug av.: 33C day, 23C night
January: 13/6


Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:28 pm
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Still dry here with periodic hot spells ... 100°F today and warmer forcast for tomorrow.
Forest fire rating is extreme.

Cheers, Barrie.

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Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:47 am
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Location: Kyushu, Southern Japan (33.607N latitude)
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DaveN22 wrote:
Great pictures, Tom!

I hope I never experience that sort of rain. A few (brief) thunderstorms in a Mediterranean winter are quite enjoyable after the summer drought, but I wouldn't want more than that.


Dave, yes, a nice Mediterranean climate sounds good right about now...

All this rain can be a drag - in fact it is raining again today. I talked to a professor at Kyushu University yesterday and he said that the valley I live in got a meter of rain over three days...that is a bit more than half the normal amount for one year!

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Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:44 pm
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Tom Velardi wrote:
a meter of rain over three days...that is a bit more than half the normal amount for one year!


That's more than London and Athens combined get in a whole year! (Athens 402mm, London 589mm)

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Dave
Pagrati, Athens, Greece
Jul/Aug av.: 33C day, 23C night
January: 13/6


Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:48 am
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