The Hadley circulation (HC) has conventionally been considered as thermally direct with uniform zonal distribution. However, the meridional circulation in the tropics is far from uniform, including the thermally direct cells associated with the global monsoon heating and indirect cells in the absence of diabatic heating. This study aims at assessing the thermally direct and indirect cells in different regions, identifying the geographic sectors responsible for interannual variability of HC strength and boundaries, and unraveling the underlying mechanism for the interannual variability of HC edges and intensity. Results derived from ERA-Interim reanalysis and climate models show that the climatological HC in wintertime (December–January–February) obscures longitudinal diversity of regional meridional cells (RMC), including thermally direct RMCs over Eurasia and the Eastern Pacific, thermally direct southern limbs of RMCs over the Central Pacific and Western Atlantic with opposite circulation. For each of the regions, El Niño-South Oscillation and mid-latitude eddies are assessed in terms of their relative contributions to the interannual variability of HC intensity and extent. ... mehrTheir underneath physical mechanisms are thoroughly investigated.