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ITCZ – Inter Tropical Convergence Zone

September 1, 2011
tags: ,

Waiting for the deluge

Yes, the ITCZ is where we live most of the time. The ITCZ is a fluctuating band of weather that hangs out either north or south of the equator. It’s kind of like a cat – moves quickly, is sinuous and can strike with ferocity or just roll over and pass by.

Many times the ITCZ covers the entire horizon from one side to the other and at sea is an ominous reminder that one can be easily crushed. Usually accompanied by large black clouds it contains untold lakes of water ready to pour down on unsuspecting boats or atolls. Here in Majuro one only need look to the east to see whether one is coming or not. It’s usually preceded by an increase in humidity and unsettled skies for sometimes days on end. We’ve just come out of a period with the ITCZ for the last 5 days. The temperature was in the low 30’s and the relative humidity hovered at around 85-90%. One never felt dry, everything dripped inside and outside and the rides ashore would be between squalls and rainfall that filled the dinghy. No, not a nice picture but it is stunning to watch. The pictures accompanying this blog show a little of the black sky, a proa (local sailing vessel)

Running with scissors

racing for home as the sky darkens and finally a shot out to the west passed the anchored tuna boats and where the sky is considerably different.

One benefit of the ITCZ is that one can collect rainwater to replenish water tanks. Both on boats and on shore people have concocted ways in which to collect the rainwater. There is no central water system in Majuro other than rain catchment or purchase de-salinated water at $4/gallon. What with minimum wage being $1.50/hour there are few people who can afford not to collect rainwater. (On an aside there was a job posted for a driver – 35 hour work week starting at 0500hrs and ending at 2300 hours (!?) with a starting wage of $2.50/hour and one week paid vacation. Any takers? ) Back to water – yes, we collect rain water onboard Sage and believe me we need it. What with the temperature and humidity the way it is we need more for showers than we need for drinking!

A more peaceful view to the west

Well, last night the ITCZ scampered off to the south, the east wind returned to blow cool evening air down the hatch and over the V berth. I returned from sleeping in the cockpit to the V berth and we woke up this morning to humidity of 68%, temperature of 28 C and a clear sky. Finally, we can now dry ourselves and everything else and the solar panels can return to replenishing the batteries with power we lost from the last 5 days. What a glorious day – this is what the tropics should be like every day! OK – now off for a swim….

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Louise permalink
    September 1, 2011 05:42

    There are a couple of cool satellite images of the ITCZ on its Wikipedia page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertropical_convergence_zone

  2. Admiral Wayno happily stuck in the tropics... permalink
    September 2, 2011 00:43

    Suck it up sailors! You are describing Townsville’s weather in our ‘summer’ which is just commencing. If a wimp like me can manage 20 yrs down here, you can.

  3. Admiral Wayno happily stuck in the tropics... permalink
    September 2, 2011 00:44

    Thanks for that link, Louise. Good one!

  4. September 2, 2011 05:41

    Love the photos.

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