Tropical Rain Belt: Climate Change to alter its position

The researchers from the University of California recently predicted that the future climate change will cause an uneven shifting of the tropical rain belt. This might threaten food security for billions of people.

Key Findings

According to the study, the shift of the tropical rain belt over the Indian Ocean and Eastern Africa will result in drought stress in south eastern Africa and Madagascar. Also, it will increase the flooding in southern India. The southward creeping of the tropical rain belt over the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean will cause greater drought in Central America.

Tropical Rain Belt

The tropical rain belt is the region around the tropics that receives abundant rainfall. It is largely the manifestation of the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone).

During October to March, the tropical rain belt lies in the southern hemisphere of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. The northern tropics are dry during this period. Between April and September, the tropical rain belt occurs in the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere goes dry then.

The belt shifts roughly between the equator and the fifteenth parallel north (south) latitude. Near these latitudes one dry and one wet season occurs. On the other hand, there are two wet and two dry seasons in the equator as the belt passes through the equator twice.

Abundant rain in Tropical Rain Belt

The air in the tropics warm up quickly. The warm air rises up. As the hot air rises, the cold air occupies the vacant spaces. As more and more cold air replaces the warm air, the tropics lose their ability to hold moisture. As a result, the excess moisture turns into rain showers and thunderstorms. This is the main reason for abundant rain in the tropics

Intertropical Convergence Zone

The region is called Doldrums by the sailors because of its windless weather. This is the region where the south east and north east trade winds converge.

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