Earth’s Tropical Belt

The “belt” that circles the Earth at the equator is widening. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association – better known as NOAA – the Earth’s girdle is widening between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

As the planet has warmed, the belt has widened over the past quarter century. Independent teams of scientists found that the tropical atmospheric belt had grown between 2-4.8 degrees since 1979 – that translates into a total expansion range north and south of between 140 to 330 miles.

The widening could change precipitation patterns which would then affect ecosystems, agriculture, and water resources. The findings have been published in the first edition of the new publication Nature Geoscience.


Courtesy of Google Images



One key determination of the tropical belt is called the Hadley circulation, which is essentially prevailing “rivers” of wind that move vertically as well as horizontally. These winds carry moisture to rainy areas while drying out arid regions on the edges of the tropics, for example, the desert southwest in the United States.


Image imported from Wikipedia

While scientists have predicted for some time now that the belt would widen by the end of the 21st century due to global warming, the larger than expected increase has them puzzled. The primary concern is not that tropical environments such as jungles are expanding but that the area of desertification is growing.

My question is this – how many occurrences such as melting icecaps, rising sea levels, increased desertification, expanding belts, warming soil temperatures, unusual weather patterns, etc. will it take before those who deny global warming is occurring will change their minds.

What I really find ironic is that we humans constantly think we can control the environment in which we live. And, we have done so with many important inventions and improvements. Yet, when it comes to the impact of human actions on our planet, we won’t and don’t accept responsibility for our actions.

The “ostriches” continue to bury their heads in the ground and reject the notion that our actions are hurting our global home. Let’s hope they come up for air before it is too late.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Agriculture and Food Production, Environment, Global Warming, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ken Stocker says:

    OK. I’ll bite. But I will need some time. This cannot be responded to with a one liner.

    stay tuned,

  2. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    I think the problem we have now is there is not a common thought shared by the total masses. I agree the earth is warming. I am not sure we humans have much to do with it but it part of something much bigger. I do agree we sure are not helping the matter.

    We continue to spend billions on roadways yet pennies on highspeed rail that is less costly and has less impact on the world.

    Just take highway 24 from Fort Wayne to Toldeo. Count the hundreds of semis you pass going the other direction. One set of rails, two train engines could move all of them in one trip. Far cheaper and cleaner then all the semi tractors out there. But who will support the funding? It will not be the semi manufacturers, fuel manufacturers, construction companies that resurface roads, and not our state government who get road taxes from fuel.

    It is like the government talking about planes running into each other on the ground. What a stupid problem.

    Each plane as a unique transponder number their plane is assigned when in flight. Have the transmitter going while on the ground. Then install a number of recievers on the ground that can tell where the plane is by when the recievers recieve the transponder output. This is fed into a triple redundent computer system that would map the airport and where the planes are at every split second.

    Then based on when the planes are suppose to leave it would call them from the gate and get them in the correct line to take off. People would not be setting on the runway for two to four hours waiting for take off.

    Of course you would not need as many ground controllers and their union is not about to hear about that either.

  3. Ken:

    I appreciate the fact that you are giving this thought. You will find that the scientists are not completely in agreement on what is expanding the belt other than global warming. Some believe it is the El Nino issue; others believe it may be depletion in the ozone layer. You will also find that desertification, in the past, has been primarily the result of human activity. This desertification is not.

    The earth is a large system composed of four individual but interrelated systems.

    Those systems are the atmosphere, which is the envelope of gases surrounding the solid surface of the earth; the hydrosphere, comprising all the waters of the earth; the lithosphere, composed of the solid material forming the outer shell of the earth; and the biosphere, which encompasses all life forms on our planet.

    In general, systems do not react to every small change until the degree of change is too great to withstand. The point at which a system becomes unbalanced is the threshold, or, in today’s global warming terms, the “tipping point.”

    I would like to, however, clarify my position. I don’t think we humans are causing all the global warming. The earth goes through phases of warming and cooling, so those ups and downs are expected over hundreds of thousands of years or even millions of years. We have ice ages as evidence of the earth’s fluctuations.

    I do believe we are hastening the process with many of our activities. While it may seem inevitable that warming and cooling occur over hundreds of thousands of years, my philosophy is that we should do all we can to slow the process – especially if our activities are speeding it up.

    Just as we would not – I hope – trash our homes in which we live, we should not trash the earth. There are many things that we can do to conserve and help slow the warming.

    J.Q. mentions high speed rail. I wish we had a public transportation system in place in Fort Wayne that was able to get me to work without taking two hours because of all the stops.

    I rode the Metro when I was in D.C. this past September, and I loved it. But you know what – the riders are mostly low income and minority. I was one of the few whites on the Metro and one of even fewer white women, both in the early morning when I went in to D.C. and in the evening when I returned. The Metro is a segregated transportation system, not by law but by fact.

    Most Americans could care less about using public transportation. We seem to have this fixation with our vehicles, and we will be darned if we will change. Public transportation systems in many cities are simply seen as not good enough for many Americans to come down off their high horses and ride. And the sad thing is that the issue of public transportation becomes a vicious cycle – we won’t use it so very little money will be invested in it – no money invested means low quality services which leads to low use.

  4. Ken Stocker says:

    We can go on and on about what evidence we have over whether or not the earth is warming. It very well may be, I won’t DENY it. But what has not been scientifically shown is the direct causality of man made CO2 being the driver of any current temperature change.The fundamental problem with this debate is that both sides are arguing from a different initial premise. Those that are “pro” global warming argue by bringing up example after example of the effects of global warming. The “anti” global warming side keeps bringing up example after example of how man made CO2 cannot be the cause of global warming. In either direction, proving one’s position will not negate the others. The earth can be warming, and it can be that man is not causing it. “Pro” arguments up to this point have all been showing examples of warming effects. Polar Ice cap melting, glaciers retreating, Hadley Cell expansion, agricultural zone extension. These may very well be happening, I will concede. But what has yet to be shown is that the increase of CO2 is the cause of this and not a result of the thermal increase. And this is why all of the arguments that are ”pro” global warming are loaded with fudge words such as “ could be, might possibly be, highly probable, almost certainly” when referring to man made greenhouse gases being the cause. This is why Al Gore always trumpets that a consensus has been reached on the opinion that man is causing global warming. He cannot declare that it has been conclusively shown, because it hasn’t. In fact, it cannot be mathematically shown that adding CO2 causes a temperature increase. This is because the current theoretical model of global warming is based upon what is called radiative forcing violates the second law of thermodynamics. The basis of this model is that long wave radiation emitted from the surface layer gets absorbed by and re-radiated downward from the troposphere layer of the atmosphere, causing additional temperature rise of the lower layers. The problem with this is that the troposphere average temperature is about -30 degrees F. By direct derivation of the second law of thermodynamics, a net energy transfer from a lower temperature body to a higher cannot occur. An article I linked to earlier shows this.


    If you really want to convince us “deniers” that man is causing the global warming, here is what you have to do. When a report such as this is presented, someone on your side should digest it, and publish a rebuttal that is just as detailed as the original. Pick the report apart, line by line, find the mistakes, and point them out. Then the ball is back in our court to either scrap our theory, or honestly and openly fix it. Then repeat the process. Eventually all that will be left is the raw truth. But this is not what is happening. Gerlich and Tcsheuschner have been maligned, called every name in the book, laughed at, and labeled as deniers. But nobody has actually addressed their findings. They are just declared wrong in public, and the “pros” just keep moving forward with their assault. And this is the pattern.

    I watched the show on Discovery channel produced in 2007 called “ Warning: a global meltdown” featuring Paul Rose. They were still using the Mann hockey stick graph based on temperature proxies of tree rings and Ice cores. This graph has been so discredited that the IPCC, which used it as it’s primary source of evidence in the 2001 report, COMPLETELY eliminated it from the 2006 report, without a single mention that it ever existed. Also, the scale factor of the CO2 in the presentation was so exaggerated as to be ridiculous. We have had a 40% increase in 150 years, the graph made it look like it has been 1000% or more.

    Here is one of many articles describing the Mann Error. The first one is very detailed and concise on deconstructing Mann’s arguments and methodologies.


    The rebuttal to this was on Realclimate.org (hosted by Mann) saying that the predictions of the Mann graph showing no medieval warming or little ice age was legitimate, because these were regional, not global phenomenon. But here is an evidence set that rebuts the rebuttal:


    If we can keep it honest, we can come to a final resolution. There is lots more I can say, but I think I will stop here, for now.


  5. Ken:

    I am just curious – are you a physicist? I went to the website, and I will tell you 114 pages of writing and numerous formuals that only a physicist can understand do nothing to convince me that global warming isn’t real. How on earth can the average person look at articles like that and accept anything? And, if someone from my side, which by the way I found but haven’t had the chance to review, digested and rebutted it, that report would also be unintelligible to the average person.

    When references to that type of writing are made, you are asking the public to accept, on faith, that the physicist knows what he or she is talking about.

    I will ask again, how do you explain the changes that are occurring? The “deniers” don’t want to address those issues other than to say it isn’t global warming.

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