El Nino and La Nina are alternating global weather patterns which when in effect can give or take life from Japan’s powder gods. Last years El Nino was one of the strongest in the last 50 years and it was responsible for the uncharacteristically warm weather and lower than normal snow levels which affected some resorts in Japan.
As we head towards the 2016/17 snow season will it be El Nino delivering another uncharacteristic season or will we be graced by La Nina and all her snowy goodness?
The Japan Meteorological Agency is forecasting a 70% chance that the La Nina weather pattern will be in effect by Autumn. The La Nina brings cooler weather to Japan and enhances the northern winds which blow in from Siberia picking up moisture over the sea of Japan that then cools and falls as metres of light, fluffy, powder snow over the ski resorts of Japan.
Similarly to after the 1988-89 El Nino, with which the 2015-16 El Nino is tied with as the strongest on record, we could see a sharp swing towards a record breaking or potentially a multi-year La Nina. That could spell even higher snowfalls for Japan with longer more consistent seasons!
Even though last season’s snowfall was considered below average throughout most of Japan, Niseko and Furano both still received over 8 metres of the white fluffy stuff which still puts them near the top of the list as the snowiest resorts on the planet! Whilst it’s impossible to predict with certainty, the strong chance of a La Nina weather pattern could mean that the 2016/17 season will have higher snowfall, start earlier and last longer and that’s good news for all of us heading to the land of the rising sun and falling snow this season!
Have you booked your trip yet? Get in touch with us at Whiteroom Tours to book a spot on one of our professionally guided tours or we can create a custom travel package so you can experience your perfect powder holiday.