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.