Earth has three convection cells per hemisphere. These are the Polar cell, Ferrel cell and Hadley cell. These create the trade winds, westerlies and polar easterlies which control many aspects of climate, such as where rain shadows & dry zones are located and where ocean currents flow.

Diagram of Earth's atmospheric circulation patterns

However, if you were to slow down the rotation rate of a planet, you could turn those three convection cells into a single, gigantic convection cell. Assume a roughly Earth-like planet in all characteristics (sans rotation rate, which is slowed down in order to turn the three convection cells into one - and apparently axial tilt might have an effect, I'm not sure). Because climate is a combination of multiple factors, there are several questions to consider:

  • How would the movement of oceanic currents be affected?
  • In what direction would the wind blow at different latitudes of the planet's surface?
  • Where would the dry zones of the planet be? The wet zones?
  • Where would the hot zones of the planet be? The cold zones?


  • How would this affect violent weather phenomena such as hurricanes and tornadoes?
  • $\begingroup$ Taken from Worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Aug 5 '15 at 23:06
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    $\begingroup$ I would not call a planet with only one convection cell per hemisphere "Earth-like." A better name for such a planet would be "Venus-like." The only way that this can happen is if the planet has a ridiculously low rotation rate. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Aug 7 '15 at 6:36

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