The researchers say the tangible consequences for populations in affected areas cannot be underestimated. This shift will mean more drought stress in Southeast Africa and Madagascar. Southern India will, in turn, face more intense floods due to the belt shifting more northward.
The reverse movement over the eastern Pacific and Atlantic oceans will, in turn, increase drought stress in Central America.
“Our work shows that climate change changes the position of the rain belt in opposite directions in two longitudinal sectors that together cover nearly two-thirds of the world,” said lead author Anthony Mamalakis, who holds a PhD in engineering from UCI and UCI. Now he is a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University. “This process will have a series of impacts on water availability and food production in different parts of the world.” The team warns that the shift could threaten the food security of billions of people.
The researchers based their simulations on 27 pioneering climate models. However, it is important that they assume another increase in greenhouse gas emissions until the end of the century.
According to Mamalakis, this transformation has long since gone unnoticed, precisely because it reflected it in the two different hemispheres. So far, many models have used global averages and thus find no shift. Only by deconstructing the rain belt response in the eastern and western hemispheres did his team discover the drastic changes that will take place in the coming decades.
The team said the next step is to translate these changes into tangible impacts on the ground, in terms of floods and droughts, and changes to ecosystems and infrastructure in the affected areas.
From The study by the UCI team and Yale University has been published in The Nature of Climate Change. This article is based on telex from IPS and a press release from the University of California, Irvine.