Equatorward shift of the boreal summer intertropical convergence zone in Maritime Continent and the impacts on surface black carbon concentration and public health

Publication type

Journal Article

Research Area


Research Team

Air Pollution and Health

Geographic Area



In Maritime Continent, the shift of intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) location directly regulates the distribution of black carbon and hence affects public health in the region, but the mechanism and human health impacts have not yet been comprehensively revealed. Here we used multiple reanalysis datasets to investigate the long-term shift of seasonal-mean zonal-mean ITCZ location in this region from 1980 to 2014, and to assess the influences on black carbon distribution and the resultant health impact in terms of premature mortality. Results show that recent human-related equatorial warming contributed to an equatorward shift (∼2.1°) of ITCZ location in Maritime Continent. Spatially, the equatorward shift of ITCZ reduced surface black carbon concentration over the maritime area by enhancing updrafts and wet deposition, but raised the concentration in the continental area by inhibiting updrafts. Meanwhile, anomalous low-level northeasterlies weakened summer circulation and prevented black carbon from being transported to the Philippines. Our results also suggest that the equatorward shift decreased ∼13% of black carbon-associated monthly premature mortality in maritime countries, but increased ∼6% of that in continental countries based on the population and mortality rate in 2010. We therefore recommend considering climate change impacts in the design of adaptation strategies against regional air pollution.

Publication Details


npj climate and atmospheric science





Date Published


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