The Intertropical Convergence Zone over the Middle East and North Africa: Detection and Trends

  • Anna A. Scott

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

This thesis provides an overview of identifying the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The ITCZ is a zone of wind convergence around the equator that coincides with an area of intense precipitation that is commonly termed a tropical rainbelt. In Africa, these two concepts are frequently confounded. This work studies the correlation between precipitation and commonly used ITCZ indicators. A further attempt is made to detect movement in the African ITCZ, based on earlier paleontological studies showing historical changes in precipitation. Zonally averaged wind convergence is found to be the most reliable indicator of the African ITCZ, one having a low correlation with zonally averaged precipitation. Precipitation is found only to be a reliable indicator for the African ITCZ in zones near the wind convergence, which reaches as far north as 20_N in the summer. No secular change in location of the African ITCZ is found for the time of available data. Finally, historical data shows that any increase in precipitation in the Sahel, a region where precipitation is driven by the ITCZ, is mildly negatively correlated with precipitation in the rainbelt area, suggesting that shifts in the ITCZ result in a widening of the precipitation profile as well as a shift of the entire zone.
Date of AwardMay 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering
SupervisorGeorgiy Stenchikov (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • ITCZ
  • CLIMATE
  • AFRICA
  • PRECIPITATION
  • CONVERGENCE

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