How Climate change will shift the Tropical Rain Belt?

Recently, a research report was published in the Nature regarding the impact of climate change on the Tropical Rain Belt. The report has highlighted that, apart from the global warming and sea-level rise, the climate change has the potential to impact the events related to monsoons and global rainfall patterns. It may result into the shifting of the position of the tropical rain belt of the planet.

Key Findings

  • The study finds that the tropical rain belt might shift northward over Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean and southward over the eastern Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.
  • The report further states, the northward shift will increase the droughts in southeastern Africa and Madagascar. While, it will intensify the floods in Southern parts of India.
  • The southward shift of the belt will also lead to greater drought in Central America.

How climate change is affecting the tropical rain belt?

  • The atmosphere over the Asia and North Atlantic Ocean is heating up differently because of climate change. This change in the heating pattern is resulting into the positional shift in the rain belt.
  • Further, projected reductions in aerosol emissions in Asia, glacier melting in the Himalayas and loss of snow cover in northern areas because of climate change is also causing into faster heating up of the atmosphere than in other regions.
  • The southward shift in the tropical rain belt will happen due to weakening of the gulf stream (The warm Atlantic Ocean current in Gulf of Mexico) and deep-water formation in the North Atlantic.

How Rain Belts created near the Tropics?

The rain belts are surrounding near the tropics because the equatorial area receives most of the insolation. This solar energy generates huge amount of heat near the equator. Thus, it provides the tropical regions a higher temperature as compared to other regions of Earth. This results into heating up of the air rapidly. The warm air, which holds more moisture, moves up and the colder air settles down to the lower level. When the colder air replaces the warmer air at the lower levels of the atmosphere it losses the ability to be stored in the atmosphere. It, thus, brings the rain.

About Tropical Rain Belt

It is the region around the tropics that receives higher rainfall. It is largely the manifestation of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The belt lies in the southern hemisphere during October to March, while it lies in the northern hemisphere between April to September.


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