The ITCZ is a belt of low pressure that circles the Earth at the equator. It is formed by the upward flow of warm, humid air from just north and south of the equator. Air is brought into the ITCZ through the force of the Hadley cell and lifted high in the atmosphere by convection. This area is a prime area for thunderstorm activity. Areas in this region receive precipitation more than 200 days each year.
The ITCZ changes position seasonally, shifting north and south of the equator more than 315 miles (500 km). In July, it moves north of the equator, in January it moves south. The increasing Coriolis force makes the formation of tropical cyclones within this zone more likely. The ITCZ has a significant effect on the rainfall patterns of many equatorial countries, including the wet and dry seasons. Because of the ITCZ, these countries commonly experience droughts or flooding episodes.
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