UCI researchers: Climate change will alter the position of the Earth’s tropical rain belt

From UC Irvine

Difference by the year 2100 expected to impact global biodiversity, food security

January 18, 2021UCI researchers: Climate change will alter the position of the Earth’s tropical rain beltRoughly in line with the equator, Earth’s tropical rain belt is expected to shift irregularly in large hemispheric zones as a result of future climate change, according to a new study by UCI civil & environmental engineering and Earth systems science researchers. The alterations are expected to cause droughts and threaten biodiversity and food security across broad swaths of the planet by the year 2100. NASA

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 18, 2021 — Future climate change will cause a regionally uneven shifting of the tropical rain belt – a narrow band of heavy precipitation near the equator – according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions. This development may threaten food security for billions of people.

In a study published today in Nature Climate Change, the interdisciplinary team of environmental engineers, Earth system scientists and data science experts stressed that not all parts of the tropics will be affected equally. For instance, the rain belt will move north in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere but will move south in areas in the Western Hemisphere.

According to the study, a northward shift of the tropical rain belt over the eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean will result in future increases of drought stress in southeastern Africa and Madagascar, in addition to intensified flooding in southern India. A southward creeping of the rain belt over the eastern Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean will cause greater drought stress in Central America.

“Our work shows that climate change will cause the position of Earth’s tropical rain belt to move in opposite directions in two longitudinal sectors that cover almost two thirds of the globe, a process that will have cascading effects on water availability and food production around the world,” said lead author Antonios Mamalakis, who recently received a Ph.D. in civil & environmental engineering in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCI and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.

The team made the assessment by examining computer simulations from 27 state-of-the-art climate models and measuring the tropical rain belt’s response to a future scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise through the end of the current century.

Mamalakis said the sweeping shift detected in his work was disguised in previous modelling studies that provided a global average of the influence of climate change on the tropical rain belt. Only by isolating the response in the Eastern and Western Hemisphere zones was his team able to highlight the drastic alterations to come over future decades.

Co-author James Randerson, UCI’s Ralph J. & Carol M. Cicerone Chair in Earth System Science, explained that climate change causes the atmosphere to heat up by different amounts over Asia and the North Atlantic Ocean.

“In Asia, projected reductions in aerosol emissions, glacier melting in the Himalayas and loss of snow cover in northern areas brought on by climate change will cause the atmosphere to heat up faster than in other regions,” he said. “We know that the rain belt shifts toward this heating, and that its northward movement in the Eastern Hemisphere is consistent with these expected impacts of climate change.”

He added that the weakening of the Gulf Stream current and deep-water formation in the North Atlantic is likely to have the opposite effect, causing a southward shift in the tropical rain belt across the Western Hemisphere.

Full article here.

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January 18, 2021 10:10 pm

This isn’t science. They can get any result they want from their models – any result at all. Someone is panicking because Earth and its climate are not following their predictions. 50 million climate refugees by 2020? That didn’t pan out too well, did it. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/50-million-environmental-refugees-by-2020-experts-say-20110222-1b31i.html. Food production threatened by droughts? https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/07/25/climate-change-food-agriculture/ That didn’t go too well either. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

So these people have thought up some scary scenarios, and then they have programmed their climate models to predict them. Whatever it is, it isn’t science. If this whole thing wasn’t so darned serious, it would be funny.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 19, 2021 2:32 am

No models are accurately predicting any climate parameters on a decadal scale so what is the point of extracting some detailed factors of such regional changes projected 100 years hence.

very old white guy
Reply to  Greg
January 19, 2021 3:13 am

models are why the world is locked down because of a flu virus, aren’t models just great?

Reply to  Greg
January 19, 2021 4:16 am

The point is to get more funding. Playing with those computers is probably funny and it feeds their families.

January 18, 2021 10:17 pm

Yes. Be aware. Drought itime is on our doorsteps..
Click on my name.

January 18, 2021 10:24 pm

“The team made the assessment by examining computer simulations from 27 state-of-the-art climate models . . .”

How many other “state-of-the-art” climate models did they examine before they found these 27 whose output was drastic enough to publish their results.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
January 18, 2021 11:04 pm

That leaves a great deal of room for models from really, really bad to absolutely pathetic. Using a larger number of models doesn’t improve their chance of approaching accuracy, as climate alarmists apparently believe. As with their case, it simply makes it 27 times more likely to be pointless nonsense.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 19, 2021 4:57 am

At this point, I doubt that they believe them. They just know that a lot of stupid people will believe them.

January 18, 2021 10:28 pm

As a scientist, I predict in 2030 the Sahara will still be sufering from severe drought. I can bet 1000 with anyone that this will be true.

Reply to  Pauleta
January 18, 2021 10:29 pm

BTW, forgot to add. I am in my 50’s and I have been hearing about the weaking Gulf Stream for a good part of 3 decades.

Reply to  Pauleta
January 19, 2021 9:10 am

It’s a lot like socialism.
This time it’s going to work.

Gerry, England
Reply to  MarkW
January 20, 2021 6:33 am

Yes, because it has never been tried properly before. What was it Einstein said about trying the same thing many times in the expectation of a different result.

Reply to  Pauleta
January 19, 2021 10:27 am

If in doubt, include the word “could”

Reply to  Neo
January 19, 2021 4:00 pm

Weaselology is a mandatory course for modern “scientists.”

A few examples: https://www.amanet.org/articles/get-rid-of-those-pesky-weasel-words/

“Is consistent with” has been omitted, somehow. There are doubtless others.

January 18, 2021 10:28 pm

”UCI researchers: Climate change will alter the position of the Earth’s tropical rain belt”
Oh now, you know that’s not true! 🙂 Pants on fire!!

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Mike
January 19, 2021 7:20 am

“For instance, the rain belt will move north in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere but will move south in areas in the Western Hemisphere.”

They were drinking and someone sang that old ( sailor? ) ditty .
” She had two teeth in her mouth …
One pointed north ..
And the other pointed south ..”

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
January 19, 2021 10:35 am

they are idiots Bob……the earth would have to wobble on it’s spin to do that

Reply to  Latitude
January 19, 2021 4:01 pm

Not idiots at all. These people majored in spin.

January 18, 2021 10:31 pm

How come none of these jokers ever have, you know, plain old climate models? Or even “really good climate models”? I guess that would mark them as newbies.

Instead, they always have “state-of-the-art climate models”. Not yesterday’s models. Tomorrow’s models.

The amazing thing is, these were 27 “state-of-the-art” climate models. And every single one of the 27 of them were state of the art. No laggards, no sluggards.

They were not just cutting edge. Indeed, not one of them has anything but the cuttingest of edges.

Gotta say, when you have to hype your climate models like that, and you need 27 of them to discuss it among themselves before coming to a conclusion … you’ve left science far, far behind.


Rory Forbes
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 18, 2021 11:14 pm

Having read and heard about the output from these “state-of-the-art” climate models for over three decades; I can say with little chance of contradiction that … the state of their art has been monstrously unimpressive, regardless how many models they use.

The only thing remarkable in any of this is how many people pretend that fiddling with these models has anything whatever to do with science.

Mr. Lee
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 18, 2021 11:24 pm

Actually, they started out with 30 models, but after a plenary session with hours of heated debate, they decided that 3 of them were unworthy of being characterized as ‘state-of-the-art.’ Evidently, in a remarkable display of professional integrity, they felt compelled to demote one that ran on a VIC-20, another that was programmed in COBAL, and a third created by a sixth grader for a science fair project.

Reply to  Mr. Lee
January 19, 2021 9:13 am


Mr. Lee
Reply to  Mr.
January 19, 2021 10:13 am

I meant no disrespect, sir. LOL

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 2:45 am

I am too lazy to look it up, but where did the phrase “state of the art” originate?

If you really look at the words they don’t seem to portray understanding 🤔

John Bell
Reply to  Derg
January 19, 2021 7:53 am

Mandatory to state, “of the art”, when describing your climate models.

Reply to  John Bell
January 19, 2021 10:25 am

Because climate models really are “art”, and not science. “Art” – as in “the eye of the beholder”. They behold whatever they wish in those artful computer programs. Heck, a tweak here and a tweak there and they could be predicting NFL results for 2100, with the same accuracy.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 2:27 pm

Do they ever define what they actually mean by “state-of-the-art”? Without some definition it is really a meaningless term. The actual “state” of the “art” of climate modelling is generally, atrocious, so a model that is “state-of-the-art” would not necessarily be any less atrocious. It’s a weasel word that conveys no meaning, but sounds impressive to people as long as they don’t think too much about it.

another ian
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 5:53 pm

It used to be “GIGO”

But these days as they are using super computers it is “Garbage in. SUPER GARBAGE OUT”

John in Oz
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 9:09 pm

I have the same issue with ‘world’s best practice’ – it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good, just that this is the best we have.

January 18, 2021 10:31 pm

If true, they conveniently forgot to mention that their calculations show more rain in the drought prone areas of the Sahel and maybe even the southern Sahara. Greening of the world! If it really does continue to warm up it would likely cause the rain belt to expand not shift, thereby watering more of the world. Why would these video game players cum climate scientists think the rain belt would move? It’s on the equator because the Sun is there. The continents are heavily skewed towards the north and yet the rain belt hugs the equator.

Chris Hanley
January 18, 2021 10:39 pm

I thought this may be useful for the geographically challenged like me.
comment image

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 18, 2021 11:01 pm

If the equatorial rain belt were to move north in the Eastern Hemisphere and concurrently south in the Western Hemisphere then it must pivot around 0° longitude 0° latitude which would have little effect on Africa or even India, likewise Central and South America.
The main effect if any would be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 18, 2021 11:11 pm

Of course it would pivot around 0-0 and 0-180, I said I was challenged.

January 18, 2021 10:45 pm

Golly! State of the art climate models–they must giving us the straight scoop! –sarc

January 18, 2021 10:46 pm

Environmental Engineer

Terrible demeaning of the word “Engineer”. The term “Scientist” long ago lost any respect now they are doing the same with the word Engineer.

These dingbats couldn’t engineer their way out of a paper bag. They are just more religious zealots.

I always have to limit what I say about these people because it is rightly viewed as religious vilification. I need to be at peace with their right to practice their beliefs no matter how wonky they are.

Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2021 2:22 am

On the other side of the coin you’ve paid for the right to vilify their religion and wonky beliefs with your increased taxes and utility bills, we all have.

Mr. Lee
January 18, 2021 11:14 pm

Do any of these climate models have a track record of successfully predicting anything? Other than being “state of the art”, is there any reason I should believe the climate models?
If trust is earned, then how have these models earned it?

Reply to  Mr. Lee
January 18, 2021 11:48 pm

No. The are based on a fairytale. They are religious doctrine. Nothing to do with science and certainly nothing to do with ENGINEERING.

Harry Davidson
Reply to  Mr. Lee
January 19, 2021 7:06 am

Argue with a True Believer who has studied to become an Acolyte and they will give you a long list of detailed predictions that were correct. All tiny scientific details, which they claim add up to them being right.

January 18, 2021 11:34 pm

Climate change will alter the earth’s size, shape, mass, magnetism, orbital velocity around the sun, axial tilt, and gravity, as well as the speed of light, the magnitude of the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces and the value of pi, etc. and will exacerbate the heartbreak of psoriasis.

Harry Davidson
Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
January 19, 2021 7:07 am

Finally, you understand! It is that bad, far worse than we thought.

Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
January 19, 2021 9:16 am

You forgot –
“heal the sick, raise the dead”

January 18, 2021 11:53 pm

Ooh boy!
I asked a while ago if anyone can tell me the latitude of the arctic circle, TODAY. If you are going to look at any map, you probably do not know what the ant/arctic circle is. Look, I ain’t no high-fallutin’ scientist or climatoloshit (BTW the term “climate engineer” should make you shiver with trepidation!) but by gods, can one of these venal bastards at least think before they speak?
On the other hand, IF we take this “learned paper” at face value, accept their result as probable, why do they not state the plain simple reason their “calamity of rain belt over 2 thirds of the planet” in simple terms? Let this ignorant subsistence farmer from Africa enlighten the venerable masters:
If the tilt of our planet’s axis straightens up, the arctic circle will shrink, AND THE TROPICS EXPAND. Jeez, simple …it’s not even geometry, c’mon, man!
I will leave it to the wonderfully funded stargazers to explain why the planet’s axis should tilt… I don’t have time for stupid right now.

January 19, 2021 12:06 am

Uses CMIP6 which runs hotter than CMIP5 and also RCP8.5.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  lee
January 20, 2021 5:52 am

Of course! That’s what gets you published and keeps the grant money coming in.

January 19, 2021 12:17 am

Disguised in previous modelling?

But of course it was

Peta of Newark
January 19, 2021 12:56 am

Complete Clowns

The trees make the rain. The rain make the trees
In the same way as:
Chickens make eggs. Eggs make chickens.

Puzzling out what exactly caused what is completely pointless.
Because, if you destroy all the eggs in this world, all the chickens will disappear.
It’s really very simple, no matter how clever you think you are, or how clever other people have told you that you are – in the true spirit of contemporary Political Correctness

The chickens will never return

Same with the trees.
And all other stuff that grows out of the ground.

The ever so slight catch, is that really really Clever People, who know they are clever because they keep telling each other as much, think different ##
These ultra super clever gigga squigga mugga fugga cleverer than a really kilo-klever clever thing, have determined that by burning stuff (stuff that grows out of the ground) is:
The Way to Eternal and Sustainable Happiness, for all.

Including Ma Nature herself.
(Just get The Hubris – enough to explode your head isn’t it?)

They Could Not Be More Wrong

Turkeys also make eggs don’t they?
When they’re not voting for either Thanksgiving Day Lunch, Christmas Lunch or Demented Joe
All= The Same Thing as far as turkeys are concerned

(Wonders, what about Zombies, how do they procreate?
Silly me, they don’t. That’s where all the babies have gone.
Hooda thunk
But really really really clever, intelligent and (supposedly) rich people will assert something else – as we know.)

## (Boy-Oh-Boy, do they think different or what?
Further wonders, do they actually think?

January 19, 2021 12:58 am

The previously green Sahara desert region is an example of ongoing climate change – and ever shifting historical rainfall patterns.
Nothing at all to do with CO2 and/or carbon taxes.

Climate believer
January 19, 2021 1:12 am

La La land….

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 19, 2021 1:26 am

Judging by the quantity of rain we had over the past few days (north-west England) it is already here!

January 19, 2021 2:12 am

This important story is contained in the large SEPP post, elsewhere on wattsup.
I just call it “More BS from Biden”.

By: Marc Morano – Depot January 12, 2021 8:44 AM

Both Legates and Maue now head back to their home agency of NOAA, which will review the actions under its scientific integrity policy. https://t.co/T47hV262eQ
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 12, 2021

BREAKING: The White House has dismissed David Legates and @RyanMaue for their role in producing papers questioning the seriousness of climate change without approval: https://t.co/Fkjwf7aSHJ pic.twitter.com/3sIQD0U62l
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 12, 2021

Betsy Weatherhead, in charge of the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment, pushed back against the validity of the unauthorized papers led by Trump Appointee David Legates, which questioned the seriousness of climate change.
Updated story: https://t.co/Fkjwf7aSHJ pic.twitter.com/ej4j6DG8MY
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 12, 2021

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
Late last year, several of us were asked by David Legates (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) to write short, easily understandable brochures that supported the general view that there is no climate crisis or climate emergency, and pointing out the widespread misinformation being promoted by alarmists through the media.
Below are the resulting 9 brochures, and an introduction by David. Mine is entitled, “The Faith-Based Nature of Human Caused Global Warming”.
David hopes to be able to get these posted on the White House website by January 20 (I presume so they will become a part of the outgoing Administration’s record) but there is no guarantee given recent events.
He said we are free to disseminate them widely. I list them in no particular order. We all thank David for taking on a difficult job in more hostile territory that you might imagine.

Introduction (Dr. David Legates) – Federal government climatologist Dr. David Legates: “These flyers have been written by top scientists from leading institutions from around North America. The Office of Science and Technology Policy is pleased to bring you these briefs to further your understanding of climate change by learning from these learned scholars.”

The Sun Climate Connection(Drs. Michael Connolly, Ronan Connolly, Willie Soon)
Systematic Problems in the Four National Assessments of Climate Change Impacts on the US(Dr. Patrick Michaels)
Record Temperatures in the United States(Dr. John Christy)
Radiation Transfer(Dr. William Happer)
Is There a Climate Emergency(Dr. Ross McKitrick)
Hurricanes and Climate Change(Dr. Ryan Maue)
Climate, Climate Change, and the General Circulation(Dr. Anthony Lupo)
Can Computer Models Predict Climate(Dr. Christopher Essex)
The Faith-Based Nature of Human-Caused Global Warming(Dr. Roy Spencer)

January 19, 2021 2:15 am

They also modeled that if frogs had wings, they wouldn’t have to bump around on their asses.

mike macray
January 19, 2021 4:09 am

if frogs had wings, …

Ode to the frog:
What a wonderful bird the frog are,
When he walk he fly almost
When he talk he cry almost
He ain’t got no tail hardly either
He sit on what he ain’t got almost!
‘poetry’ without meter, rythm, or rhyme,
like ‘science’ without logic, confirmation or exactitude…
New Year greetings to my mispelled namesake,
Mike Macray

Reply to  mike macray
January 19, 2021 6:59 am

Thank you kinsman Mike.

All the best to you and yours in 2021!

Yours aye, Allan MacRae in Calgary

January 19, 2021 2:52 am

I’ve lost count – Is this “Failed Warmist Climate Prediction” number 50 or 51?

These climate doomsters have a perfect negative predictive track record – every very-scary climate prediction they have made in the past ~four decades has failed to happen.

“MacRae’s Maxim”:

very old white guy
January 19, 2021 3:06 am

Having read countless article and millions of words on the climate I have come to the conclusion that it has all been a waste of time because there is absolutely nothing we can do to alter the climate. The planet has been here for billions of years and will be here billions of years from now. It may continue to replenish itself or it may be a cold dead dry rock, either way we are not going to destroy it. We may destroy ourselves but not the planet.

January 19, 2021 4:09 am

The team made the assessment by examining computer simulations from 27 state-of-the-art climate models and measuring the tropical rain belt’s response to a future scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise through the end of the current century.

thats where I stopped reading!

January 19, 2021 4:57 am

Someone please let me know when the following events occur, because I predict that they will:

1 – Those people find out that their models were all completely wrong.
2 – The tropical rain belt sends snow to the Atacama Desert and flowers bloom, and there is snow on the beaches of Brazil. (Already happened more than once, so it’s predictable. 🙂 )
3 – Volcanoes in the Pacific erupt in concert and spew enough particulate matter to block sunshine substantially, altering plant growth cycles and sending torrents of rain to flood the lowlands.
4 – The only models that work are those on fashion runways, and they get paid lots of cash, and that generates a new study on which models do work better.
5 – There is snow in Switzerland, South Island New Zealand, and Chile, so the resorts can open up again.

Coach Springer
January 19, 2021 6:25 am

So their models are built on hard, detailed and comprehensive observations of how many position changes of “Earth’s Tropical Rainbelt”?

Brian Bellefeuille
January 19, 2021 9:21 am

“Mamalakis said the sweeping shift detected in his work was disguised in previous modelling studies that provided a global average of the influence of climate change on the tropical rain belt. Only by isolating the response in the Eastern and Western Hemisphere zones was his team able to highlight the drastic alterations to come over future decades.”

If I read this correctly, the “..drastic alterations..” were disguised as “..global average..” in the original SOTA models. If this hidden gem is such a major climate changer, doesn’t that call the original models into question?

Richard Patton
January 19, 2021 9:51 am

The biggest problem that their models have is the ignoring of the laws of physics. Because of the trade winds, caused by Coriolis force, which in turn is governed by the laws of motion, the tropics will always be between 10°N and 10°S. It bugs the heck out of me when writers (any writers, scientific or otherwise) ignore the laws of physics to get their weather and/or climate to do what they want. (L.E. Modesitt jr. I’m looking at you)

Walter Sobchak
January 19, 2021 6:27 pm

“examining computer simulations from 27 state-of-the-art climate models”

27! Wow. If they used 28, they would hve gotten the right answer.

January 20, 2021 2:11 am

Another masterclass in “look there’s a squirrel”.

According to the study, a northward shift of the tropical rain belt over the eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean will result in future increases of drought stress in southeastern Africa …

So they admit that the rain belt will shift north in Africa.
This shrinks the Sahara desert from the south.
Greening of the Sahara is good, not bad.
I’ve been saying for a long time that CO2 will cause – already is causing – the greening of the Sahara.
And that greening Sahara is good, not bad.

But these charlatans distract from these good effects of CO2 by jumping to hypothetical harmful effects elsewhere: notice in the above text there is zero acknowledgement of the implications of the “northward shift of the tropical rain belt over eastern Africa”.

January 23, 2021 12:27 pm

There was a time when all the earths continents were located in far away from their present location. Inexplicably they survived and continue to move in such a way millions of years from now they will be located far from where they currently reside. Crazy.

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