Ocean currents play role in Northern Hemisphere’s rain patterns

By on November 13, 2013

A satellite picture of clouds shows a narrow band of intense rainfall, known as the inter-tropical convergence zone, just north of the equator. (Credit: NASA)


Researchers at the University of Washington say that ocean currents make the Northern Hemisphere warmer, according to a release. The extra warmth, they say, makes it rain more.

Using NASA satellites, the team was able to show that sunlight actually provides more heat to the Southern Hemisphere. But after calculating how much of the heat was transported by ocean currents, it was found that one large, conveyor-belt current was keeping tropical rain bands going north.

Complicating their research are changes in air pollution and global warming – two factors that make it increasingly difficult to predict future tropical rainfall patterns.

Image: A satellite picture of clouds shows a narrow band of intense rainfall, known as the inter-tropical convergence zone, just north of the equator. (Credit: NASA)

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