Current DateSeptember 28, 2021

What is a monsoon?

At this very moment the strong monsoon which is falling on the whole of India is causing innumerable damage. Hundreds of people have died due to lightning caused by the precipitations. But what is the monsoon due to? And where does it happen?

Different types of monsoon

The monsoon is a phenomenon of persistent winds due to a set of thermal depression and seasonal differences between the sea and the land. There are, however, two types of monsoons: winter and summer. In the winter, soils cool faster than the oceans, as does the air above them, causing a significant temperature difference between the continent and the seas. This will give rise to very dry winds which will blow and chase the clouds before causing an accumulation of humidity and precipitation.

In the summer, it is the opposite mechanism, the temperature of the soil increases sharply, faster than that of the seas. The air which is humid and hot is then charged with water and forms a high pressure causing moreover pressure differences. A compensation system is created and the wind regime is modified. In other words, the winds will blow from the seas to the land, laden with water, which explains the heavy precipitation recorded each time. However, the temperature difference is less in winter than in summer.

The winter monsoon winds are therefore less constant and powerful than the summer monsoon, as is the precipitation. In addition, this climatic phenomenon is observed especially in the intertropical regions where it can lead to serious phenomena such as floods or landslides. But the topography of the country has a lot to do with it because the arrangement of the mountains and the plains affects the path of the constant monsoon winds.

Where and when does the monsoon occur?

This climatic phenomenon produces 80% of the total precipitation in the affected areas. But the onset of the monsoon will vary from country to country and from season to season. In some, the wet season begins in April while in others it is later. Also, the monsoon is very often prone to surprise. Particularly variable, it can be as early as late, abundant as weak, regular or brutal.

The monsoon occurs mainly in Asia in the countries that surround the Indian Ocean. Thus, the strongest phenomena take place in India which holds the sad record for the year 1961 when the whole territory was under water. But countries like Burma, Thailand, the Philippines are regularly the prey of important monsoons. China is also affected. Furthermore, since the monsoon mechanisms became better known, the term has been extended to other phenomena observed on other continents.

Sub-Saharan Africa also experiences monsoons, especially between the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, but they are less strong and less variable than in Asia. Brazil also experiences an annual monsoon, as do the United States and Mexico. Indeed, the states of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado as well as Mexico are affected by the phenomenon which finds its origin in a warming of the Great Desert of the American West and winds blowing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Consequences of the monsoon

Beneficial or destructive? This question arises regularly when studying the consequences of the monsoon in the affected countries. Indeed, this phenomenon is a capital factor for agriculture, certain crops such as cotton or rice needing a lot of water to develop. Also, the locals pray every year for the summer monsoon to be good. But excess in anything is usually a bad thing. When the monsoon is too violent, it causes of a lot of damage.

Large amounts of water stagnate in villages without sidewalks, still earthy where the ground is flat and cause significant flooding. Worse yet, they sometimes cause deadly landslides or drowning deaths. The rains also damage many buildings and structures—consequences that the authorities of the affected countries can hardly face due to a lack of means.