Impacts of Climate Change in Japan

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The observed and projected impacts of climate change are described for several sectors: The impacts on food (agriculture, livestock and fisheries) contain changes in the rice production, Ukikawa symptoms (detached fruit skin and flesh) in mandarin and grapes due to high temperature and delayed seaweed harvests due to a later cooling down of water temperatures in autumn. It is expected that poor ripening of rice increases, a shift northward will take place for apple cultivation lands (Fig. 1.38), a northward shift of damage and pest, water shortages during rice planting, a decreased habitat for salmon and northward shift for herring, slower growth of the Pacific saury (Fig. 1.39) and a northward shift of suitable aqua-farming of Blowfish (Torafugu).

The impacts on water environment and resources are increasing restrictions on water intake and water supply (Fig. 1.40), an abnormal bloom of blue-green algae in lakes and marshes and the increased use of groundwater. It is expected that the risk at drought will increase, the amount of landslide disasters will increase de to a higher frequency of short-term extreme rainfall, the temperatures in rivers, lakes, dam reservoirs and groundwater will be elevate resulting in a higher probability of blue green algae blooms and the groundwater will be salinated due to a rising sea level.

Fig. 1.39 Slower growth of the Pacific saury disables the fish to return to southern waters (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)
Effects That Climate Has Japan
Fig. 1.40 Possible effects of decreased snowfall on water resources (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)

The impacts on natural ecosystems vary from a decline of Japanese beech forests and decrease of alpine flora to an aridification of moors and the dispersion of Japanese deer, the stagnation of vertical circulation of lakes and reduction in dissolved oxygen at the bottom, a reduction of distribution areas for cold water fish,

Climate Change Japan
Fig. 1.41 Changes in distribution probabilities of the Japanese beech tree forets in different climate scenarios (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)

an increase of southern species and decrease of northern species along the coast, the bleaching and destruction of coral reefs, an earlier flowering period of Camellia, Japanese ume, dandelions and cherry trees, a later stage of leaves colouring and falling of ginkgo and maple trees and the late blooming in Kyushu due to insufficient 'dormancy breaking' caused by low temperatures. It is expected that a decrease of distribution areas suitable for Japanese beech tree forest (Fig. 1.41), sub-alpine belts will take place, a rapid decrease in alpine plant communities, the expansion of bamboo groves in Tohoku region, increased stagnation in lakes and oceans, invasion of alien species in freshwater regions, changes in food chain caused by diminishing sea ice in the Ochotsk Sea and an escalation of the effects on plankton and calcified organisms due to ocean acidification.

The disaster prevention and large coastal cities are affected by increased threats of flooding and damage as a result of storm surges and typhoons, leading to inundations and an increased frequency of extreme rainfall (Fig. 1.42) and a decreased amount of water available in the Kiso reservoir.

In the future an increase of the intensity of typhoons is expected, they will probably shift their course leading to other areas at risk and cause increased wind speed and ocean waves. Furthermore, it is expected that wave-overtopping rates due to sea level rise increases, the erosion and loss of sandy beaches will diminish 90% with one meter sea level rise, the flood control safety levels decrease and landslide disasters increase due to snowmelt.

1973 79 80 St 82 33 84 35 86 37 83 39 90 91 93 94 95 93 97 93 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 05 07 Year

Fig. 1.42 Increase of frequency of heavy rainfall (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)

1973 79 80 St 82 33 84 35 86 37 83 39 90 91 93 94 95 93 97 93 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 05 07 Year

Fig. 1.42 Increase of frequency of heavy rainfall (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)

Fig. 1.43 Trends in the number of heat stroke patients per city (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)

The impacts on health show an increase in excess mortality due to heat stress, record high number of heat stroke patients (Fig. 1.43) and the expansion of the distribution area of the Asian tiger mosquito, transferring dengue. It is expected that all of these impacts will increase in the future.

Climate change influences also citizens and urban life. The impacts that are defined are the rise of international prices for wheat, corn and Soya-beans, earlier blossoming of Japanese ume and cherry trees, tourist and sport climate conditions and an increasing reporting on akenoumi (lake fails to freeze) and No Omiwatari (no cracks appearing on a frozen Lake Suwa, Fig. 1.44).

Further impacts on citizens and urban life is expected to increase the loss of life and property and an impact on transportation and communication facility due to extreme weather damage like extreme rainfall (Fig. 1.45), an increase of deaths, diseases and heat stroke patients caused by heat waves (Fig. 1.46), burden on household budgets due to higher prices of agricultural products and extended use of air conditioning, the increase of discomfort in daily life due to the increase of extremely hot days and nights, lower possibilities for tourism and recreation, impact on sports

Fig. 1.44 The Omiwatari phenomena at Lake Suwa in 1980 (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008, © Suwa Museum)

Fig. 1.44 The Omiwatari phenomena at Lake Suwa in 1980 (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008, © Suwa Museum)

The Amonunt Rainfall Japan
Fig. 1.45 Predicted number of summer days with extreme rainfall in Japan (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)
Lake Suwa Omiwatari
Fig. 1.46 Predicted number of hot days (maximum temperature > 30°C) (Source: Committee on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research, 2008)

due to less snowfall and the impact on local culture due to a loss of sense of seasons caused by snow season shortages and changes in cherry blossom season.

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  • robert clark
    How will japan be affected by climate change?
    3 months ago

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