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Understanding monsoon

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2009 16:06 IST
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As northern India is desperately waiting for monsoon to get relief from the scorching heat, here are some of the interesting facts about monsoon.

What is monsoon?

A monsoon is a seasonal dominating wind that lasts for many months and changes directions. The owrd 'monsoon' is derived from the word 'mausam', which is the word for weather in Hindi, Urdu, and many other North Indian and Pakistani languages. However, it was first used in English in reference to the big seasonal winds blowing from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea in the southwest bringing heavy rainfall to the area in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries.

Why monsoon is so important?

Monsoon is important due to the fact that it accounts for 80 percent of the rainfall in the country. The agriculture sector of India is heavily dependent on the rains, especially this year when the economy is trying to revive after the global slump. Also, the rain brings relief from burning heat and soaring temperatures.

Which are the different sides of monsoon?

The southwest monsoon arrives in two branches called the Bay of Bengal branch and the Arabian Sea branch. The Arabian Sea side monsoon of the southwest monsoon first hits the western ghats of Kerala, India. It moves northwards providing rain to the coastal areas of the Western Ghats. The Bay of Bengal side of monsoon flows over the Bay of Bengal and heads towards North-Eastern India and Bengal. It reaches then to the Eastern Himalaya and gives rain to the North-East India, Bangladesh and West Bengal.

The Arabian Sea side monsoon creates a low-pressure area on the Thar Desert. It is quite stronger than the Bay of Bengal side monsoon.

How does the monsoon arrive?

The monsoon has a decided itinerary. it typically begins over the Indian territory by around May 25 May and slashes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Then, it moves on and strikes the Indian mainland around June 1 near Kerala. By June 10, the monsoon reaches Mumbai and in the north india, it reaches by June 29.