Why do the major pressure belts and winds shift pole wards during summer season? Explain.

If the earth had not been inclined towards the sun, the pressure belts, would have been at the same position. But it is not so, because the earth is inclined 23 1/2° towards the sun. On account of this inclination, differences in heating of the continents, oceans and pressure conditions in January and July vary greatly. January represents winter season and July, summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. Opposite conditions prevail in the Southern Hemisphere.
When the sun is overhead on the Tropic of Cancer (21 June) the pressure belts shift 5° northward and when it shines vertically overhead on Tropic of Capricorn (22 December), they shift 5° southward from their original position. The shifting of the pressure belts cause seasonal changes in the climate, especially between latitudes 30° and 40° in both hemispheres. In this region the Mediterranean type of climate is experienced because of shifting of permanent belts southwards and northwards with the overhead position of the sun. During winters Westerlies prevail and cause rain. During summers dry Trade Winds blow offshore and are unable to give rainfall in these regions.
When the sun shines vertically over the Equator on 21st March and 23rd September (the Equinoxes), the pressure belts remain balanced in both the hemispheres.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Why do the major pressure belts and winds shift pole wards during summer season? Explain.

Published: January 3, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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