Monsoon, Floods and Droughts

Monsoon, the word monsoon has its origin in an Arabic word meaning season, are seasonal shifts in the prevailing wind direction that generally bring with it a different kind of weather. The monsoon occurs when air from the relatively higher pressure air mass over the ocean flows toward the flows toward the low pressure overland.

Indian summer monsoon, perhaps the most famous one, affects a very large portion of Asia. Each year in the months of May and June the dry northerly wind, prevailing over India, changes direction, and warm humid air from the Indian Ocean flows from the come torrential rain even severe thunderstorms.

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Monsoon especially marked in India

Climate in India is dominated by monsoons. India’s winters are generally dry except for some areas that fall within the ambit of northeast monsoon. However, very little moisture is carried by the monsoon winds that blow from the north-east. Winters are not very cold because the Himalayas, functioning like a fence, prevents cold air from going through onto the subcontinent.

From the South-West enters the summer monsoons onto the subcontinent. The winds that carry moisture from the Indian Ocean cause heavy rain from June to September. In spite of the facts that sometimes and monsoons cause much destruction, they are always eagerly awaited and welcomed very gladly because they irrigate the land, assuring a bountiful harvest, and arrange much of India’s hydroelectric power.

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Importance of Monsoon

Monsoon winds are the colossal sea and land breezes which are produced by seasonal shifts in circulation. The strongest monsoon patterns are in the tropics of which the India monsoon is an outstanding example.

The only one fact, that more than 70% of earth’s population live under the influence of monsoon climate, is enough to gauze and understand the importance of monsoon.

In India, as the very pulse of any region’s life heavily depends on monsoon, its arrival is a much awaited event. The advent of monsoon, after along harsh summer, is life giving. On its arrival, timeliness, and generosity depends the hope and lives of millions of people.

The subcontinent receives almost all its rains in a short spell of a few months; flora, fauna and people all have learnt to adapt to this seasonal changes in weather. In this way, the entire agricultural cycle, and , consequently  the life of farming communities are dependent on the arrivals of the monsoon.

A good monsoon is an indication of prosperity and several other benefits to many people. Thus the imprint of the monsoon can be felt and seen in every aspect of life—from the vagaries of a predominantly rain-fed agricultural economy to the subcontinent’s literature, music and almost every form of artistic expression.

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Floods: How do they happen

Floods, that can wash away houses and roads, drawn crops and people, cause great sufferings to people living in the plains, near rivers and the sea.

Flood, usually local and short lived events, (can) when suddenly, sometimes with little or no warning. They occur when rivers overflow because of their (rivers’) inability to carry all the water running into them of the land’s surface. Weeks of heavy rain can cause rivers to happen due to the depression of hurricane, and resulted downpour can cause rivers to overflow.

High tides cause floods; hurricane, that heap up the surface of the sea and transfer waves surging inland, also cause floods. Even melting snow can combine with rain to increase the level of water in a river so much that it may result in flood in the surrounding area also forming a shallow lake. In the case of failure of a dam also river can flood. People belonging to areas where floods are common accept them as a natural and inevitable hardship that return to them year after year without having a break.

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Some useful floods

No one can deny the misery and damage that floods cause, but they have some advantages too. In Egypt, the yearly flooding of the flat land alongside the River Nile enriched the soil; it left behkind rich silt in which crop could be grown.

However, Nile no longer overflows its banks because of the construction of a dam along it. Generally flood that leave behind itself a rich deposit of silt on the plains, secure bumper crops.

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Droughts

A region is marked as suffering from drought when there is no snow or rain in that region for a long time. Everyone knows that water vapours condenses to form droplets of water only when if air moves upwards into the colder regions of the atmosphere. However, in the presence of high air pressure, air falls instead of rising.

No currents of water vapour are carried upward, if the air is pressing down in a high pressure zone due to which no condensation happens and little rain falls to earth. Apart from this as the high pressure areas push clouds and air currents downward and away, it results in sunny, cloudless and extremely dry weather.

Droughts can also occur in the case when water vapour is not brought by air currents to the right areas at the right times. Water, that evaporates from the oceans is brought inland by winds to regions where it is required. However, as sometimes those winds are not strong enough, no rain occurs.

For example, summer winds, known as monsoons, carry water vapour north from the Indian Ocean to the subcontinent, delivering desperately needed rain. Sometimes, however, blow east to west, resultedly the vapour does not leave the India Ocean and people suffer from the resulting droughts.

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