Category Archives: Science in Action

Seat-of-the-Pants Climatology

A week ago, I took a 10,000 mile journey from New York to Sydney.

It’s still mind-boggling to me that we can travel to the (almost) opposite side of the world in just 25 hours.  Granted, 25 hours is plenty of time to get bored.  Looking outside over the nighttime Pacific, you’d see no difference if somebody taped black construction paper over the windows.  My biggest source of entertainment on flights is looking out the windows.  Deprived of that option, I slept.

A few hours later, turbulence rattled me awake.  I’d be worried about crashing if I weren’t too sleepy to care.  But, since I was awake, I might as well check our location on the seatback TV map.  We were right near the equator.  Maybe a hundred miles north.

Turbulence?  Near the equator?  Is that a coincidence?

Nope.  It’s the Intertropical Convergence Zone!  I felt the ITCZ!

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