The ITCZ and the Seasonal Cycle over Equatorial Africa
Nicholson, Sharon E.
Année de publication
The common explanation for the progression of the rainy season over Africa is the seasonal excursion of the ITCZ. The ITCZ paradigm stems from a time when tropical rainfall was assumed to be associated mainly with localized convection. Its development was also linked to the emergence of midlatitude frontal concepts. The paradigm has numerous shortcomings, including the diversity of definitions and the large number of parameters used to identify the ITCZ. A historical look at the concept shows that its use over Africa has long been controversial, with many eminent tropical meteorologists harshly criticizing its applicability over this continent. However, the seasonal excursion of the ITCZ remains the classical explanation for African rainy seasons, especially in the equatorial region. This article underscores the shortcomings of the paradigm in equatorial Africa by examining various aspects of the circulation associated with the spatial and temporal patterns of rainfall during the equatorial rainy seasons. The overall conclusion is that a deeper understanding of the seasonal cycle in the equatorial regions of Africa still needs to be developed.