The Climate of Osaka

Not much evidence, but we did feel the snow flakes – December 18, 2014

Men turn into their fathers as we get older. I am more and more interested in the weather as I age. I remember my father always mentioned the weather when I talked with him from afar and he had thermometers outside all sides of the house to check daily. I guess a part of it is my background in science and my interest in the earth sciences like geology, astronomy, and meteorology. Understanding and observing climate, wind patterns, tracking precipitation, etc. is fascinating.

After living for 13 years in tropical countries, my past two posts, Serbia and Japan, have been refreshing because of the change of seasons. This is my seventh consecutive year of living in latitudes outside of the tropics. Osaka is 34 degrees north of the equator, which generally the same latitude as Los Angeles, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Nicosia, Cyprus and Kabul, Afghanistan.

The awesome red color and comfortable weather of autumn in Osaka.

Osaka’s climate is classified as humid subtropical. It has hot, humid summers and cool “mild” winters and a definite change of seasons. The summer was incredibly hot and wet and the fall was gorgeous with perfect weather. This winter so far has been cold, not northern Michigan cold where I am from, the more like the Balkans cold with temperatures around 0 C. We even had snow flurries yesterday, which is very rare for December here, and over the year on average it only snows 3 centimeters (1 inch) per year. That is a bit sad because I love snow.

A warm summer day in September.

It feels much colder because of the lack of insulation  and central heating in Japanese homes. They tend to close off rooms in the winter, use small heating devices like electric rugs/blankets, pocket hand warmers, portable gas and electric heaters, instead of a furnace like in European or North American homes. I was joking that living in our house is like living in our summer porch in my childhood home in Michigan. We had a non-insulated room in the back of our house that was used for storage or sleeping in the summer (before the days of air conditioning). I find this interesting why the homes are not insulated well, as things here have a developed infrastructure, like highways, buildings, etc, why not have insulated homes? It is a mystery I hope to answer in my time here.

The students at our school from India and Brazil were very excited to see snow yesterday. I am looking forward to see how the winter progresses into spring.

3 thoughts on “The Climate of Osaka

  1. Adam Hancock

    Hey Bill! Great to hear about life in Japan. I’m having those same weather conversations with my dad now, as we visit for the holidays. And heating wise, Brazil is the same way. It’s not that it gets so cold, but if the apartment is ‘open air’ and some windows are permanently breezy, ( and there is no heat), it can be hard to warm up.

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