The ITCZ, or Inter-Tropical Convergence zone appears as a band of shows and thunderstorms extending along the Earths equator. It exists because of the convergence of the trade winds. In the northern hemisphere the trade winds move in a southwesterly direction, while in the southern hemisphere they move northwesterly. The point where these trade winds meet, or converge, forces the air up into the atmosphere, thus forming the ITCZ.

The ITCZ is typically located between 5N and 5S, and its position varies with the sun displaced north during northern hemisphere summer and south during northern hemisphere winter. The displacement is more noticeable over land masses due to the greater variation in temperature, due to daytime heating. This daytime heating also gives rise to heavy showers and thunderstorms.Weather stations in this region typically average more than 200 days with precipitation. The showers tend to follow a diurnal cycle; clouds form during the late morning, and it rains by late afternoon, but only for a short time (of course a tremendous amount of rain can fall in that short timespan!)

Sailors refer to this region as the doldrums because there is very little wind, air rises due to the convergence. If the air rises, it has to sink, someplace, right? This large area of sinking air is called the horse latitudes, located around 30-35 poleward from the equator. The ITCZ is an integral part of Earths circulatory system, which gives rise to our weather.

So why am I writing about the ITCZ? Its not located anywhere near Connecticut. Truth is, I have a funny story about it. When I was interviewing for my current job as a software engineer, I was being interviewed by my current boss. He was asking me the typical software development questions like When would you use a trigger on a database? or Briefly describe one scenario where youve utilized the MVC pattern,” and then he fires this shot: What is the ITCZ? I stopped and began to panic. Is this an acronym for some computer thing I am supposed to know? Is my answer going to cost me this opportunity? Great! After a few seconds of awkward silence, I finally answer The ITCZ is the Inter-Tropical Convergence zone, the place near the equator where the trade winds meet. What does this have to do with computers? His reply? Nothing. Your resume says that you are a meteorologist and I wanted to see if it was true. Touche.

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