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CLIMATE OF INDIA

Climate

The climate of India is described as the ‘monsoon’ type. This type of climate is found mainly in the south and the Southeast Asia. Despite an overall unity in the general pattern, there are perceptible regional variations in climatic conditions within the country.

 

THE SEASONS

India is a land of many seasons. Four main seasons can be identified in India – the cold weather season, the hot weather season, the advancing monsoon and the retreating monsoon with some regional variations.

 

The Cold Weather Season (Winter)

The cold weather season begins from mid- November in northern India and continues till February.  December and January are the coldest months in the northern part of India. During this season, the northeast trade winds prevail over the country. They blow from land to sea and hence , it is a dry season. A characteristic feature of the cold weather season over the northern plains is the inflow of cyclonic disturbances from the west and the northwest. These low-pressure systems originate over the Mediterranean Sea and western Asia and move into India, along with the westerly flow. They cause the much-needed winter rains over the plains and snowfall in the mountains. Although the total amount of winter rainfall locally known as ‘mahawat’ is small, they are of immense importance for the cultivation of ‘rabi’ crops.

 

 

The Hot Weather Season (summer)

Hot weather season in India starts from March to May. The summer months experience rising temperature and falling air pressure in the northern part of the country. A striking feature of the hot weather season is the ‘loo’. These are strong, gusty, hot, dry winds blowing during the day over the north and northwestern India. This is also the season for localised thunderstorms, associated with violent winds, torrential downpours, often accompanied by hail. In West Bengal, these storms are known as the ‘Kaal Baisakhi’ calamity for the month of Baisakh. Towards the close of the summer season, pre-monsoon showers are common especially, in Kerala and Karnataka. They help in the early ripening of mangoes, and are often referred to as ‘mango showers’.

 

Advancing Monsoon (The Rainy Season) 

By early June, the low-pressure condition over the northern plains develops. It attracts the trade winds from the southern hemisphere. These south-east trade winds originate over the warm subtropical areas of the southern oceans and cross the equator and move in a southwesterly direction entering the Indian peninsula as the south-west monsoon.  With the exception of the extreme north-west, the monsoon winds cover the whole India. Mawsynram in the southern ranges of the Khasi Hills receives the highest average rainfall in the world. Rainfall in the Ganga valley decreases from the east to the west. Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat get scanty rainfall. Another phenomenon associated with the monsoon is its tendency to have ‘breaks’ in rainfall meaning it has wet and dry spells.  

Monsoon is derived from an Arabic words Mausim meaning season. The winds which change their direction with change in season are called Monsoon winds. India has Monsoon type of climate. There are two branches of monsoon in India.

1)    Arabian Sea Branch

2)    Bay of Bengal Branch

 

Retreating Monsoon

During October-November, the low-pressure belt over the northern plains becomes weaker. This is gradually replaced by a high-pressure system. The south-west monsoon winds weaken and start withdrawing gradually. By the beginning of October, the monsoon withdraws from the Northern Plains. The months of October-November form a period of transition from hot rainy season to dry winter conditions. The retreat of the monsoon is leads to  clear skies and rise in temperature. While day temperatures are high, nights are cool and pleasant.  Due  to the conditions of high temperature and humidity, the weather becomes hot during the day. This is  known as ‘October heat’.  



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