Winter air temperatures strongly affect crop overwintering and cold resource usage. To clarify how winter air temperature distributions are formed in a mesoscale plain, field observations and simulations were conducted for the Tokachi region in Japan. Results elucidating the winter climate within the plain revealed that the winter mean air temperature at each site was correlated closely with the mean daily minimum air temperature. The daily minimum air temperature was not correlated with altitude, suggesting that local variation of the daily minimum temperature influences the temperature distribution. Observations at different distances from the upwind mountains revealed that nocturnal air temperatures were higher for stronger winds closer to the mountain foot. Low temperatures associated with wind speed suggest that radiative cooling strongly affects the temperature distribution. Wind and temperature conditions in the boundary layer influence the degree of drop in nocturnal air temperature and its distribution. The wind speed and direction, respectively, affect the extent and direction of the high-temperature zone from the northwest mountain foot. Simulations with a spatial resolution of 2 km reproduced the observed temperatures, but the error exceeded 5°C at sites having complex terrain under moderate or strong wind conditions. A higher-resolution model of 0.5 km showed that simulated temperatures approach the observed temperatures in association with a local wind system of down-valley drainage flow. In conclusion, the synoptic background, wind strength and direction over the plain, and microscale valleys affect boundary layer mixing and, thereby, determine the winter air temperature distribution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science