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THE SEASONS OF INDIA

THE SEASONS OF INDIA

  • The monsoon type of climate is characterised by a distinct seasonal pattern.  The weather conditions greatly change from one season to the other
  • These changes are particularly noticeable in the interior parts of the country.  The coastal areas do not experience much variation in temperature though there is variation in rainfall pattern.
  • 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 stays till February.  December and January are the coldest months in the northern part of India.
  • The temperature decreases from south to the north.  The average temperature of Chennai, on the eastern coast, is between 24° – 25° Celsius, while in the northern plains, it ranges between 10° – 15° Celsius.
  • Days are warm and nights are cold.  Frost is common in the north and the higher slopes of the Himalayas experience snowfall. 
  • During this season, the northeast trade winds prevail over the country. 
  • They blow from land to sea and hence, for most part of the country, it is a dry season. Some amount of rainfall occurs on the Tamil Nadu coast from these winds as, here they blow from sea to land.
  • In the northern part of the country, a feeble high-pressure region develops, with light winds moving outwards from this area.
  • Influenced by the relief, these winds blow through the Ganga valley from the west and the northwest.
  • The weather is normally marked by clear sky, low temperatures and low humidity and feeble, variable winds.
  • 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 peninsular region does not have a well-defined cold season. 
  • There is hardly any noticeable seasonal change in temperature pattern during winters due to the moderating influence of the sea.            THE SEASONS OF INDIA

The Hot Weather Season (Summer)

  • Due to the apparent northward movement of the sun, the global heat belt shifts northward.
  • As such, from March to May, it is hot weather season in India.
  • The influence of the shifting of the heat belt can be seen clearly from temperature recordings taken during March-May at different latitudes. 
  • In March, the highest temperature is about 38° Celsius, recorded on the Deccan plateau. In April, temperatures in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are around 42° Celsius.
  • In May, temperature of 45° Celsius is common in the northwestern parts of the country.
  • In peninsular India, temperatures remain lower due to the moderating influence of the oceans
  • The summer months experience rising temperature and falling air pressure in the northern part of the country.
  • Towards the end of May, an elongated low-pressure area develops in the region extending from the Thar Desert in the northwest to Patna and Chotanagpur plateau in the east and southeast.
  • Circulation of air begins to set in around this trogh.
  • 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. Sometimes they even continue until late in the evening. 
  • Direct exposure to these winds may even prove to be fatal Dust storms are very common during the month of May in northern India.      THE SEASONS OF INDIA
  • These storms bring temporary relief as they lower the temperature and may bring light rain and cool breeze
  • 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’.
  • Towards the close of the summer season, pre-monsoon showers are common especially, in Kerala and Karnatka. 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 intensifies.
  • It attracts, the trade winds of the southern hemisphere. These south-east trade winds originate over the warm subtropical areas of the southern oceans.
  • They cross the equator and blow in a south westerly direction entering the Indian peninsula as the south-west monsoon. As these winds blow over warm oceans, they bring abundant moisture to the subcontinent.
  • These winds are strong and blow at an average velocity of 30 km per hour.
  • With the exception of the extreme north-west, the monsoon winds cover the country in about a month.
  • The inflow of the south-west monsoon into India brings about a total change in the weather.
  • Early in the season, the windward side of the Western Ghats receives very heavy rainfall, more than 250cm.
  • The Deccan Plateau and parts of Madhya Pradesh also receive some amount of rain in spite of lying in the rain shadow area.              THE SEASONS OF INDIA
  • The maximum rainfall of this season is received in the north-eastern part of the country 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 while Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat get scanty rainfall.
  • Another phenomenon associated with the monsoon is its tendency to have ‘breaks’ in rainfall with wet and dry spells. They are interspersed with rainless intervals.
  • These breaks in monsoon are related to the movement of the monsoon through.  For various reasons, the trough and its axis keep on moving northward or southward, which determines the spatial distribution of rainfall.
  • When the axis of the monsoon trough lies over the plains, rainfall is good in these parts.
  • On the other hand, whenever the axis shifts closer to the Himalayas, there are longer dry spells in the plains, and widespread rain occur in the mountainous catchment areas of the Himalayan rivers.
  • These heavy rains bring in their wake, devastating floods causing damage to life and property in the plains
  • The frequency and intensity of tropical depressions too, determine the amount and duration of monsoon rains.
  • These depressions form at the head of the Bay of Bengal and cross over to the mainlands.
  • The depressions follow the axis of the “monsoon trough of low pressure”. The monsoon is known for its uncertainties. The alternation of dry and wet spells vary in intensity, frequency and duration
  • While it causes heavy floods in one part, it may be responsible for droughts in the other
  • It is often irregular in its arrival and its retreat.        THE SEASONS OF INDIA
  • Hence, it sometimes disturbs the farming schedule of millions of farmers all over the country.

Retreating/Post Monsoons (The Transition Season)

  • During October-November, with the apparent movement of the sun towards the south, the monsoon trough or the low-pressure trough 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 marked by clear skies and rise in temperature. While day temperatures are high, nights are cool and pleasant. The land is still moist.
  • Owing to the conditions of high temperature and humidity, the weather becomes rather oppressive during the day aka ‘October heat’.      THE SEASONS OF INDIA
  • In the second half of October, the mercury begins to fall rapidly in northern India. 
  • The low-pressure conditions, over northwestern India, get transferred to the Bay of Bengal by early November
  • This shift is associated with the occurrence of cyclonic depressions, which originate over the Andaman Sea.
  • These cyclones generally cross the eastern coasts of India cause heavy and widespread rain.
  • These tropical cyclones are often very destructive.  The thickly populated deltas of the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri are frequently struck by cyclones, which cause great damage to life and property. 
  • Sometimes, these cyclones arrive at the coasts of Orissa, West Bengal and Bangladesh.
  • The bulk of the rainfall of the Coromandel Coast is derived from depressions and cyclones.
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