Wet regions of the tropics predicted a gradual “shrinkage” and shift

(ORDO NEWS) — Climate models show that if the average annual temperatures on Earth continue to rise further, the “rain belts” in the tropics will shift towards the poles. As a result, precipitation can drop sharply in many of today’s humid regions of the tropics. An article with the results of calculations of climatologists was published by the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

“Our calculations show that large areas of rain belts, which cover about two-thirds of the world’s tropical regions, will begin to move apart and move towards the poles. This process will greatly affect the availability of water in the tropics and food production around the planet”, – explained one of the authors of the study, climatologist from the University of California at Irvine (USA) Antonio Mamalakis.

Global warming could radically change the face of the planet if temperature rises cannot be contained at 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels. This is evidenced by data from computer models of the planet’s climate, climatic satellites, land meteorological stations and oceanic buoys.

Because of this, climatic zones may shift, the conditions for the existence of ecosystems will change. This will affect not only wildlife, but also man-made landscapes. For example, according to one of the clmatic models, due to global warming, most of the large US cities will “move” 400-600 km to the south. This will have an extremely negative impact on the inhabitants of such cities.

Mamalakis and his colleagues theorized that there is another dangerous effect associated with global warming. In the course of their research, they calculated how an increase in temperature and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would affect the operation of the so-called intertropical convergence zone.

So climatologists call two relatively narrow stripes that stretch along the equator through the tropical regions of the Earth. The atmospheric pressure in this zone is constantly low, which is why heavy rains often pour there. For this reason, intertropical convergence zones are often referred to as “rain belts”.

This region plays a key role in the formation of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. The processes inside it affect the climate of the dry part of the tropics, the equatorial regions of the Earth and other climatic and weather processes. Scientists have long been trying to understand how the intertropical convergence zones will change in the near future.

In the course of their study, American climatologists combined the results of calculations obtained using 27 climate models. Thus, they studied in detail how different scenarios of climate change will affect the behavior and position of individual zones of the “rain belts” by the beginning of the next century.

These calculations showed that even if greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and global warming slowed down, the geographic location and functioning of the intertropical convergence zones will change dramatically. Moreover, for the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth, these changes will be very different.

In particular, in the western regions of the Indian Ocean and off the eastern shores of Eurasia, their position will shift by about 100-200 kilometers towards the North Pole. The opposite changes will occur in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, where the “rain belts” will move south. This will dramatically change the nature of precipitation and the functioning of ecosystems in all the tropics and equatorial regions of the planet.

Mamalakis and his colleagues hope that the results of their calculations will help other scientists calculate the environmental and economic consequences of such shifts, and also understand whether they can somehow be slowed down or stopped.


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