The structure and variability of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in the SW Indian Ocean in the austral summer is investigated. The ITCZ is identified by satellite microwave (SSMI) precipitable water (PW) values > 5 g cm−2, minimum outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) values < 220 W m−2 and the pattern of convergence in the low level (850 hPa) winds. According to OLR climatology, the ITCZ lies over 15°S latitude to the west of Madagascar (40–50°E), but near 10°S to the east of 60°E. Inter-annual and intra-seasonal variability is induced by the interaction of the convective NW monsoon and subsident easterly trades. Symptoms of the structure and variability are presented using tropical cyclone (TC) tracks, axes of PW exceedences and OLR, 850hPa wind and PW fields in the period 1988–1990. The shape and intensity of the ITCZ is modulated by the strength of the NW monsoon off east Africa and by standing vortices in the SW Indian Ocean. The topography of Madagascar imparts a distinctive break in convective characteristics, and distinguishes the SE African ITCZ from its maritime counterpart.
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Jury, M.R., Parker, B. & Waliser, D. Evolution and variability of the ITCZ in the SW Indian Ocean: 1988–90. Theor Appl Climatol 48, 187–194 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00867048
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