Migrations and dynamics of the intertropical convergence zone

Nature. 2014 Sep 4;513(7516):45-53. doi: 10.1038/nature13636.


Rainfall on Earth is most intense in the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a narrow belt of clouds centred on average around six degrees north of the Equator. The mean position of the ITCZ north of the Equator arises primarily because the Atlantic Ocean transports energy northward across the Equator, rendering the Northern Hemisphere warmer than the Southern Hemisphere. On seasonal and longer timescales, the ITCZ migrates, typically towards a warming hemisphere but with exceptions, such as during El Niño events. An emerging framework links the ITCZ to the atmospheric energy balance and may account for ITCZ variations on timescales from years to geological epochs.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arctic Regions
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Atmosphere*
  • El Nino-Southern Oscillation / history
  • Feedback
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Ice Cover
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motion*
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Rain*
  • Seasons
  • Temperature*
  • Tropical Climate*
  • Wind