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High pressure, ‘La Nina' blamed for cold temps

Date Posted: 2011-02-25

Colder than normal temperatures were registered in Okinawa during December and January, and few people were wanting to argue with the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory.

Pretty much everyone agreed that the frigid Okinawa temperatures were abnormal. The meteorologists agree, saying 17 days in December and 26 in January were colder than in normal years. They say high pressure drove a wall of cold air down from the North Pole across Japan, and say influences of ‘La Nina' impacted temperatures, too. The ‘La Nina' phenomenon is when ocean water temperatures from South American out to the Pacific Ocean are lower than in normal years, with westerly winds pushed by clouds causing hot air and cold air to collide over Indonesia and then prevailing westerly winds pushing on to Okinawa.

Both situations are attributed to the cold and heavy snowfall in Japan, with Okinawa catching the cold side. Meteorologists say also that temperatures here fell because of a "radiative cooling effect" where heat above part of the ground rises in the air, causing coldness.

The good news is that the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory is readying for weather going the other way. Starting about February 26th, they predict temperatures on Okinawa will be higher than normal.

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