Climate science is really one of those things that I’ve developed quite an attachment to. If I ever manage to get back in to university, it will definitely be high on my priority list. But for the moment, I have the enviable joy of reporting about it. And this one really sprung to mind as interesting.Apparently, according to recent research, our tropical belt is expanding.Most of you are well aware that our tropical belt is the giant swath of our planet, between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. However for climatologists, the tropical belt is determined by long standing weather patterns and atmospheric data.
Now the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer won’t be moving anytime soon, but scientists have found that the tropical belt according to its climate has expanded. According to meteorological studies conducted by independent teams, it’s been found that the tropical belt has expanded anywhere between 2 and 4.8 degrees of latitude. That equates to a total expansion of between 140 and 330 miles.
The issue that arises as a result of this is twofold.
Tropical conditions are, by and large, wet. That is what we think of when the word tropic is thrown around, and that is pretty much what the locals of tropical locations think too. However, right next to those tropical locations are the subtropical locations.
This is what has always confused me among many. The Tropic of Capricorn cuts Australia in half, and for those who know anything about Australia, they are well aware that the center of Australia is desert. The same can be said for the South of North America, which is not exactly teeming with rainforests.
So with the tropical belt expanding north and south, the fear is that the subtropic conditions will also follow. The dry subtropical bands could eventually include heavily populated locations, including the Mediterranean, the U.S. Southwest, northern Mexico, southern Australia, southern Africa and parts of South America.
For those in the middle latitudes though, like most U.S., European and Asian residents, the changes could affect the storm patterns. These storm patterns are what annually direct the weather patterns, and a shift could definitely mix matters up.