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Winds - Measuring ocean winds from space
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Intertropical Convergence Zone
Intertropical convergence zone

This graphic depicts both the northern and southern Intertropical Convergence Zones (ITCZ). The northern Intertropical Convergence Zone is created when the surface trade winds from the northeast meet the surface southeast trade winds. This converging, or mixing air is forced to rise, and spawns clouds, showers and thunderstorms.

The southern Intertropical Convergence Zone, below the equator has no interaction with northern trade winds. It is created when southern trade winds are followed by more winds from the south, that create a squeezing effect. The southern Intertropical Convergence Zone does not have the cloud creation capabilities that the northern Intertropical Convergence Zone does.

QuikScat satellite images have for the first time confirmed that both the northern and southern Intertropical Convergence Zones exist almost all year round.

Credit: Rob Gutro, NASA/GSFC


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