[Solved] What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia? ( UPSC GS-1 mains 2017)
The tropical monsoon climate experiences abundant rainfall like that of the tropical rain forest climate, but it is concentrated in the summer season. The monsoon type of climate has helped in defining the Asian culture, economy, polity and way of living on a large scale.
Characteristics of monsoonal climate
- Low seasonal variation
Monsoon climate is generally associated with tropical equator and subtropical regions that have lowest seasonal variations. There is no distinctive four seasons that is observed in temperate climates except for a distinct dry and wet season. This phenomenon is attributed to the trade winds that blow throughout the year bringing in stability.
- Dry spells during wet season
The monsoon do not occur continuously after its commencement. Instead there is a time during which a dry spell is observed with no or very less rainfall. It is attributed to low pressure region in Bay of Bengal.
- Reversal of trade winds
In subcontinent, the wind system blows in two patterns: as south west winds that brings moisture and rainfall in India; other as a north eastern winds that signals departure of monsoon from subcontinent. In both the cases rainfall is observed at different places.
- Distinct path and movement
The winds that brings monsoon to Indian subcontinent follows a common path every year regardless of the timing. It also splits into two branches in the form of Arabian sea branch and Bay of Bengal branch that provide rain in different parts. They subsequently merge at a common point before moving ahead into interior.
- Subject to external influence
The monsoons are not independent phenomenon and instead they are highly dependent on weather conditions that occur in other parts of the world. The conditions like El Nino in Pacific Ocean can reduce its rain bearing capacity. Similarly La Nina and Positive Indian Ocean dipole can increase its rainfall intensity.
- The major controlling factor over the monsoon climate is its relationship to the monsoon circulation. The Monsoon is a seasonal change in wind direction.
- It is mostly associated with on-shore wet monsoons in the summer and off-shore dry monsoons in the winter.
- The rainfall caused by this climate is torrential in nature.
- They are best developed in the Indian sub-continent, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, parts of Vietnam and south China
- Outside this zone, the climate is modified by the influence of the on-shore Trade Winds all the year round, and has a more evenly distributed rainfall.
- The basic cause of monsoon climates is the difference in the rate of heating and cooling of land and sea.
- The natural vegetation of tropical monsoon lands depends on the amount of the summer rainfall. Trees are normally deciduous because of the marked dry period, during which they shed their leaves to withstand the drought.
- Tropical monsoon climates have monthly mean temperatures above 18 °C in every month of the year and feature wet and dry seasons.
- The diurnal range of temperature of small.
- Locally, Orographic (Relief) uplift is an important mechanism for promoting precipitation. As air travels into the Indian subcontinent, it is uplifted by the Himalayas, causing cloud development and precipitation.
Monsoon can be regarded as the blessing of India.
- The rains that occur in the summer are regarded as monsoon. Most of this rainfall occurs during 4 months from June to Sept.
- Monsoon occurs in China as well. It gives life to 50% of world population.
- Characteristics :
- Sudden occurrence – The Monsoon rains are not gradual but occur within short span of time and in heavy amount. This sudden occurrence of monsoons is called as burst of monsoon. The retreat of monsoon is more gradual.
- Break in monsoon – The rains are not continuous but experience a period of no rains at all.
- Spacial variation – Certain parts of areas experience more rainfall than others. This has defined the topography and human geography
- Retreating monsoon – In Indian states of TN and AP during the month of Oct the rain falls called as retreating monsoon
- Cyclones – Generally monsoon is accompanied by cyclone. More occurrence in bay of Bengal and China Sea.
- Orographic rains – Most of the monsoon rainfall is orographic in nature.
- El Nino and La Nina – As the ocean temperature in Pacific ocean off the coast of Peru affects the strength of monsoon, it affects the lives and economies of nations.
- These diverse characteristics of monsoon has enriched South Asian countries with variety of food, culture, people and way of living. It has provided them with adequate water to supplement diverse range of agricultural crops. Diverse flora and fauna can also be found.
- The rainfall brought by the monsoon decreases away from the sea. This is of immense significance to India where it determines the cultivation season.
- In India, the monsoon do not give rise to a simple pattern of weather, there are dry areas, semi-arid and humid areas. This means that a variety of crops can be grown other than rice. In the leeside areas of Western Ghats for example, jowar bajra is cultivated as a dryland crop.
- The monsoon are pulsating in nature. This implies that the rain is not distributed uniformly throughout the region. This is again helpful for paddy cultivation which gets rainfall when it requires getting these rains.
- The monsoon vary from year to year. The variability is of significance in determining the variability cropping pattern and crop diversities.
- Within the monsoon region there is high reliability and variability of rainfall. The variable regions go for coarse crops while the reliable regions go for rice cultivation.
- The duration of monsoon is from 100-120 days. This is of significance in determining water retentively in the soil and that of determining the water availability for the next season
- The withdrawal of monsoon is a much more gradual phenomena than its arrival. Of course, it helps ripening of the crops when it is withdrawing.
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