Tropical Rain Belt of Earth May Change: Climate Change

Drought in Madagascar!

20 January 2021.


A recent study published in Nature Climate Change has found billions of people could face food insecurity as Earth’s tropical rain belt shifts in response to climate change, causing increased drought stress and intensified flooding.


  • The northward shift of the rain belt will result in an increase in droughts in southeastern Africa and Madagascar along with intensified floods in Southern parts of India.
  • The southward creeping of the tropical rain belt over the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean will cause greater drought in Central America.

About Tropical Rain Belt:

  • The tropical rain belt lies in the southern hemisphere of the Indian ocean and western Pacific ocean roughly from October to March, and during this time the northern tropics experience a dry season in which precipitation is very rare, and days are typically hot and sunny throughout.
  • It is a 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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