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Monsoon Pattern In India UPSC NOTE

 


Monsoon

  • The monsoons are a double system of seasonal winds that travel from the sea to the land in the summer and from the land to the sea in the winter. 

  • Historically, the monsoons were extremely important because they allowed traders and seafarers to travel from one location to another. 

  • Monsoons can be found in the Indian subcontinent, central-western Africa, Southeast Asia, and a few other places, but the winds are strongest in the Indian subcontinent.

Monsoon


  • Summers in India are dominated by southwest monsoon winds.

  • While winters are dominated by northeast monsoons. 

  • Southwest monsoon winds occurs as a result of an intense low-pressure system forming over the Tibetan Plateau. 

  • Northeast monsoons is caused by the formation of high-pressure cells over the Siberian and Tibetan plateaus.

Monsoon in 2023

  • The onset this season was delayed by unforeseen interactions between typhoons and cyclones.

  • Cyclone Biparjoy was born after the onset and lingered for longer than normal to delay the arrival of monsoon over Mumbai by nearly two weeks. 

  • For the first time in over half a century, the Mumbai saw monsoon arrive together with Delhi. 

  • The monsoon trough thus ended up with an exaggerated curvature over northwest India.

  • Excess rainfall over the northern Western Ghats into northwest India.

  • Deficits extending in a horseshoe pattern from Uttar Pradesh into Odisha and back to the east into Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. 

  • Extreme heat has also been reported in parts of Himachal Pradesh, even as some areas of the State received heavy rainfall.

Did climate change influence this monsoon?

  • With global warming, a warm and humid atmosphere acts like a steroid for the weather.

  • Every weather event now has some contribution from global warming. 

  • It is not yet clear how much the current monsoon mayhem has had to do with the El Niño.

  • Additionally, wildfires thus far this year have burned over three-times the normal area and have also emitted about three times as much carbon dioxide. This has also had a contribution to the warming.

What are the other factors influenced this monsoon?

  • The Indian subcontinent is like a popcorn kettle that gets heated up as the Sun crosses over into the northern hemisphere in March. 

  • Rainfall is like the kernels of corn popping randomly around the kettle. That is, monsoon rainfall distribution always tends to be patchy.

  • Excess rainfall over northwest India is consistent with the Arabian Sea having warmed by about 1.5 degrees Celsius since January.

  • June contributes only about 15% of the rainfall to the seasonal total. 

  • The instabilities in the atmosphere that drive convection are not strong enough to drive large-scale rainfall during the pre-monsoon season. 

  • Rainfall this pre-monsoon was above normal due to a combination of the warm Arabian Sea and an unusually high number of western disturbances. 

  • As a result, soils were left moister than normal, which in turn affected the evolution of the monsoon. 

  • However, despite averaging rainfall over a month, a season or even multiple seasons, rainfall distribution remains uneven. 

  • Disuniform terrain and heterogeneous land-use patterns are the likely culprits.

  • The Atlantic Ocean and the upper atmospheric circulation also tinker with the monsoon. 

  • The entire Atlantic Ocean has been warmer than normal since March. 

  • While the so-called Atlantic Niño, with a warm tropical Atlantic, generally tends to suppress monsoon rainfall, it is not clear what the impacts are when the entire Atlantic is as warm as it has been this year.

  • The strongest winds that occur in the upper atmosphere can spontaneously break into clockwise and anticlockwise patterns, especially when they run into mountainous terrain, such as the Himalaya. 

  • Strong clockwise winds, with air flowing out from the centre, in the upper atmosphere demand an anticlockwise circulation near the surface, in order to feed the upper-level outflow.

  • Such a convergence near the surface can drive excess rainfall.

  • Finally, the warming over the Himalaya has not been uniform either. 

  • Some parts of the mountain chain are amplifying global warming, leading to rapid local warming.

  • Irregular weather patterns during the monsoon superpose on these local features as a result of the winds expanding or compressing as they race up and down the narrow valleys. 

  • The results can be cloudbursts, heavy rains or even heatwaves — depending on the local flow patterns.

  • Such disparate weather patterns can occur side by side as well.

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