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Climate of India

Analyzed according to the Köppen system, the climate of India resolves into six major climatic subtypes. Their influences give rise to deserts in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest and Indian Ocean island territories flanking the Indian subcontinent. Regions have starkly different yet tightly clustered microclimates. The nation is largely subjected to four seasons: Winters (December to February), Summers (March to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June to September) and a post-monsoon period (October and November).

A multiplicity of factors play a vital role in deciding the time of visit to any place - infrastructure of the place, communication modes available there, culture, cuisines, places of interest, safety measures, climatic conditions of the place. Among these, knowledge about the climate of the country and weather conditions of a region becomes very important. If a tourist visits any place at a time when it is difficult to roam around due to very harsh weather conditions, his ultimate goal gets defeated. A little knowledge about climatic and weather conditions prevailing in India thus becomes very important. Indian climate can broadly be divided into three distinct seasons viz. Summer season, Winter season and Monsoon season. It must be noted that seasons have regional variations and effect due to factors like vicinity to mountains or seas/oceans, distance from the Tropic of Cancer etc. and thus, has perceptible variations in northern regions from southern regions. Based on these facts, the best time to visit India is during the onset of winters i.e. from November to February. A small brief is given below to broadly understand the weather conditions prevailing during the year time in India:

Winter Season: After September, this is the time when astronomical changes take place and direct sunrays of the Sun starts falling south of Tropic of Cancer while the north side receives slant rays having less heat of the Sun. Also, due to the end of rainy season, there is much moisture and coolness in the air which adds to the dropping of temperature. After the rainy season and downpour of precipitation, most of the heated land is quenched and cools off. The temperature of the mainland starts falling across India. The fall in temperature is measured to be about 0.6 °C (1.08 °F) per degree of latitude due north. The months corresponding the winters in India are from mid-November to late March or early April. The coldest months in India are December and January, when temperatures drops to an average of around 10-15°C (50-59°F) in the northern part of the country including north-west and north-east India. However, the average temperatures are higher in eastern and southern parts of India due to vicinity to the sea, where they are recorded to be around 20–25 °C (68–77 °F). The temperature in the southern part of India is comparatively moderate and less harsh. The winters are ideal time to visit India as one can experience both temperate and tropical climate during this time in the same country.

Winters in northern India is cloudless and so the heat absorbed during the day time is completely radiated to the sky creating a high temperature difference. This results in downfall in night temperature. During the months of March to May, rainfall recurs due to phenomena of "western disturbances" which basically is low-pressure systems originating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and carried eastwards towards India because of prevailing westerlies. This brings heavy rainfall and snowfall in the northern India, South of Himalayas as the mighty mountain range blocks its passage to the north.

Summer Season: Summer in north India is really hot. The temperature in the Indian sub-continent starts rising from March onwards. The Earth comes closer to the Sun and the months corresponding these changes are from mid-March to June. The wide stretch of land mass in the north India gets heated by the direct sunrays falling on the surface and also because of close proximity with the Sun as astronomical phenomena. Greater distance from the water body like sea or ocean also does not help in moderating the heat. The average temperature during this period is around 32-40°C (90-104°F), rising to 50 degree Celsius at some places. The months of May and June are especially hot. During the noon time, hot wind called “Loo” blows in the northern and north-western part of India. Most of the places give a barren look during the noon time. Evening sees a fall in the temperature but the weather is somewhat uncongenial for roaming around.

This time of the year is also precisely the time when pre-monsoon thunderstorms and rainfalls are experienced in the colder regions of northern India. The climatic conditions prevailing in the east Mediterranean brings rain over the Indian plains during the months of April and May, a phenomenon widely known as “western disturbances”. The quick showers on the positive side while brings the temperature down, on the negative side, it helps in delaying the onset of regular monsoon. This could easily be explained. The Monsoon winds get attracted to the heated land mass as these heated land masses are the area of low pressure belts but showers and hailstorm due to western disturbances cools the heated landmass and so, they no longer act as attracting forces and thus rebounds the monsoon winds.

Rainy or South West Monsoon: Due to change in global wind direction and the hot stretch of land masses in the sub-continent, wind starts blowing from the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, confronts high hills and changes its direction to blow towards northeastern India from southwest direction and so the name – South west monsoon. The southwest summer monsoon, a four-month period when massive convective thunderstorms dominate India's weather, is Earth's most productive wet season. Since, the wind blows over the ocean, it picks up moisture and brings rainfall to the plains.

A product of southeast trade winds originating from a high-pressure mass centered over the southern Indian Ocean, the monsoonal torrents supply over 80% of India's annual rainfall. Attracted by a low-pressure region centered over South Asia, the mass spawns surface winds that ferry humid air into India from the southwest. These inflows ultimately result from a northward shift of the local jet stream, which itself results from rising summer temperatures over Tibet and the Indian subcontinent. The void left by the jet stream, which switches from a route just south of the Himalayas to one tracking north of Tibet, then attracts warm, humid air. This season lasts till September. By the beginning of October, rainy season starts to recede from North India but South India receives most of its rainfall during this receding period.

Post-Monsoon: The period succeeding the Monsoon is distinct from the geographical point of view as the there is considerable changes in the wind direction and climatic conditions. This period is termed as Post-monsoon season and falls roughly between the months of October to December. The weather is pleasant and cool during this period from October to December. This is the period when the earlier wind direction during the monsoon season turns exactly opposite, i.e. the south-west monsoon winds changes its direction to north-east wind. This is the reason it is called the time of “retreating monsoon”. The wind blowing from north-east to south-west direction brings with it dry and cool air from Central Asia. The sky becomes cloudless and least or no precipitation occurs. This signifies the onset of dry climatic conditions and prepares stage for the winters to come.

In north and north-western India, people start enjoying the season as there are numbers of festivals lined up one after one. They go out, shop and enjoy food and visit places as the weather is conducive and cool. However, this is the time as talked earlier when south India especially Tamil Nadu comes under the influence of receding monsoon and receive most of its rainfall during this period.

The states lying at the foothills of The Himalayas which have comparatively greater temperate type of climate experience two intermediate seasons. They are Autumn Season coming after summer season when the trees shed their leaves and Spring Season coming after Winter season. These are intermediate seasons, one coming in between summers and rainy season and other between winter and summer season.

Global Warming

There is a precarious balance in the different ecosystems of the world. Whenever that balance is challenged due to human interventions and un-thoughtful actions, humans have to face the fury of the nature. The recent world wide phenomena like rise in sea levels due to melting of ice sheets, extended summers and winters in addition to their harshness, greater frequency of cyclones, recurring drought and heavy rainfall in the arid regions are the results of these man-made crisis and misuse of nature. The low lying areas near the sea are getting submerged due to the rising sea levels occurring because of melting of snow of the mountains which are a result of rising atmospheric temperature or global warming. Sundarbans delta and the area lying around it is an example. On the other hand, the rise in temperature around Tibetan Plateau cause the glaciers of Himalayas to retreat effecting the year long supply of water of the perennial rivers like the Ganges, Yamuna and Brahmaputra. These have impact on economy and livelihood of millions of farmers and the people depending upon the agricultural income as the source of their livelihood.

A number of natural disasters like landslides, drought, floods, dwindling rainfall, coral reef bleaching etc are accorded to the global warming. The rising temperature of oceans resulted in the wiping out most of the coral reefs from Lakshadweep and the Andamans Islands of India. The coastal areas have special threats of submerging huge tracks of coastal plains as the level of the sea rises thus displacing both the human and the economy. The displaced people would obviously spill over to the interiors or other countries giving rise to other social, cultural and security problems. The northeastern states of India are reeling under such threats. This is the time that these environmental concerns need to be addressed as soon as possible or the beautiful country like India would not only lose its geographical features but also the different seasons for which they are famous for.

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