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World Precipitation Regions

By Muhammad Raza Khan

Chairman APM  - 2010

World Precipitation Regions:

1. Wet Equatorial Belt (WEB)

Location: 10° North and South from the Equator, a belt of heavy rainfall is situated. An average rainfall upto 80 inches is usually recorded annually. On the world map, the Congo River Basin, the Amazon River Basin, Coasts of Nigeria west to Guinea & East Indies are included in this belt.

Environment: The Sun Radiation remains almost vertical throughout the day and around the year in WEB. It heats up the land and the oceans causes the adjacent layer of the air to rise in convection currents until it reaches its down point when condensation of vapour forms Cumulus Clouds. I WEB these clouds often gain enough altitudes from 9 Km to 11 Km and develop into Cumulonimbus Clouds causing abundant convective rainfall & thunderstorm around the year. In addition, it rains mostly in afternoon.

2. Trade Winds Coasts (TWC)

Location: the coasts lying near equator and upto 25°to 30° North and South on the Eastern sides of continents and large Islands are Narrow Coastal Belts of high rainfall. Eastern Coast of Brazil, Central America, Madagascar & North-eastern Australia are included in TWC.

Environment: These coasts receive upto 60 to 80 inch of rainfall yearly. It rains because of Orographic Lift*. The condensation of warm moist air that has been forced to gain altitude over an obstacle like mountains lying in the direction of prevailing winds causes an Orographic Rainfall. * {Orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it quickly cools down adiabatically, which can raise the relative humidity to 100% and create clouds and, under the right conditions, precipitation.}

3. Tropical Deserts {TDs}

There are two zones of huge tropical deserts lying approximately 15°to30° N & S upon the Tropics of Cancer* & Capricorn* these hot barren deserts with less than 10 inches of rain in a years & in many places with less than two inches are located under & counted by the sub tropical cells of high pressures.

* {About the latitude of 23 1/2° North & 23 1/2° South to the Equator, there are two imaginary parallel lines called Tropic of Cancer in Upper Hemisphere & Tropic of Capricorn in the Lower Hemisphere.}

Location: Deserts are typically found in continental interiors of the subtropics and on the leeside* of mountains in the multitudes. Cool coastal deserts are found where cold water upwells along coasts, stabilizing the air and preventing moisture formation like that near coastal Chile. Vast deserts cover much of North Africa (The Sahara), Saudi Arabia to Iran, Pakistan and western India. Tropical deserts are found in Baja California and interior Mexico in North America.

*{Leeward is the side that is not exposed to wind and weather. Or The side that faces away from the wind.}

Environment: The tropical desert is an environment of extremes: it is the driest and hottest place on earth. Rainfall is sporadic and in some years no measurable precipitation falls at all. The terribly dry conditions of the deserts are due to the year- round influence of subtropical high pressure and continentally.


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