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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intertropical Convergence Zones during the Active Season in Daily Data


Synoptic-scale variability of vorticity structures in the lower troposphere of the tropics is analyzed in 23 yr of daily averaged high-resolution reanalysis data. The vorticity structures can be divided into zonally elongated vorticity strips, classified as intertropical convergence zones (ITCZs), and more localized maxima, termed westward-propagating disturbances. A composite of such variability is presented for the east to central Pacific and for the east Atlantic/Africa region, both in summer. The composite in the east Pacific is zonally elongated and ITCZ-like, propagating westward over a number of days before dissipating. The spatial structure of the vorticity strip shows the characteristic cyclonic tilt into the latitudinal direction with time that is also seen in modeling experiments. The composite over the Atlantic/Africa region shows two active regions that are correlated on synoptic time scales. The disturbances in the southern region are better developed and longer lasting, even though the time and space scales are smaller than over the east Pacific. Overall, variability over the Atlantic is consistent with variability due to African easterly waves. The double ITCZ in spring in the east Pacific is different from the few earlier studies available. It is stronger south of the equator and located at 10°S, which is farther poleward than earlier studies have indicated. The northern branch that is weak in comparison is located at 5°N. The two branches of the double ITCZ tend to appear in tandem on the 2-week time scale.

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