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Climate of India

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Climate of India: The climate of India is referred to as the “monsoon” type, which is found mostly in South Asia and South-East Asia. The word monsoon is derived from an Arabic word, “mausim” which refers to the seasons. Monsoons are periodic or seasonal winds in which there is a total reversal of direction of wind every six months. In this article, we will talk about the climate of India and various climate controls that affect it.

Climate of India Map

Climate Regions of India

Climate Regions of India

Climate and Weather

Weather is referred to the state of the atmosphere over an area at any point in time, while climate refers to the sum total of the weather conditions and variations that take place over a large area for a longer period of time (more than 30 years).

Weather refers to the momentary state of the atmosphere, which changes very quickly, that is within a day or week, but the climate changes interceptive and can be noted after 50 years or more. The elements of weather and climate are the same, which are atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, wind, and precipitation. On the basis of monthly atmospheric conditions, the year has been divided into various seasons like summer, winter, or rainy.

The climate of India is mostly monsoon types, but there are regional variations in the climatic conditions within the country, and these differences in regional context can be described as sub-types of monsoon climate.

  1. Regional Variations in Temperature: A place in Rajasthan can record a temperature of 50°C or more in June while the mercury hardly touched 19°C in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on the same day.
  2.  Regional Variations in Precipitation and its Amount: It snows in Himalayan regions while the rest of the country experiences rain. Cherapunji in Khasi hills receives rainfall of over 1080 cm in a year while Jaisalmer in Rajasthan receives 9 cm of rainfall in the same period.

Despite the differences, the climate of India is mostly monsoonal and has rhythm and character.

Read More: Weather and Climate

Climate of India

Climate of India is mostly described as monsoon type and it is found mostly in South and Southeast Asia. There are however some variations in climatic conditions across the country itself. The coastal areas of India experience least difference between temperature of night and day; whereas in the interior parts there is difference between temperatures of day and night.

Climatic Controls

The important climatic controls in context of Climate of India, are majorly 6 as described below:

Climatic Controls

Features

Latitude

Sunlight is not received evenly by all and the temperature decreases as we move from equator to the poles.

Altitude

As we move from surface of the earth to higher altitudes, the temperature decreases gradually.

Pressure and Wind

The pressure as well as wind system of any area depends on the latitude as well as altitude of that place.

Distance from the Sea

Coastal regions are cooler in comparison to interior regions.

Ocean Currents

Cold ocean currents flows over a region will decrease with temperature of the area.

Relief Features

Different relief features like mountains, plateaus, plains etc. act as barrier to free flow of currents.

Factors Affecting the Climate of India

Many diverse causes influence the climate across the world, resulting in climatic differences in different places of the globe. The factors can be broadly categorized into two categories:

  1. Factors related to location and relief.
  2. Factors Related to air pressure and Winds.

Factors Related to Location and Relief

Latitude

The Tropic of Cancer passes by the middle of the country from Rann of Kachchh in the west to Mizoram in the east and almost half of the country lies south of the Tropic of Cancer, in the Tropic zone and the north part of India lies in the sub-tropical and temperate zone.

The Himalayan Mountains

The Himalayan mountains in the north do act as an effective climate divide and these mountains provide a shield against the cold northern winds which originate near the Arctic circle and blow across both Central and Eastern Asia. One of the reasons why the subcontinent experiences milder winters as compared to Central Asia is because of the mountains. The mountains also trap monsoon winds forcing them to shed their moisture in the subcontinent.

Distribution of land and water

India is surrounded by water bodies on three sides in the south and is girdled by high and also continuous mountain walls. Water both heats and colds down rapidly as compared to land and the differential heating creates different air pressure zones in different seasons and also causes a reversal in the direction of monsoon winds.

Distance from the Sea

A moderate influence on climate is exerted by the sea and the distance from the sea keeps increasing, its moderation influence decreases and such regions have extreme weather conditions. This condition is known as continentality.

Altitude

The places which are situated in the mountains are cooler than the places which are situated in plains as the increase in height, there is a decrease in temperature.

Relief

The relief of India is affected by the temperature, air pressure, direction and speed of the wind, and the amount and distribution of rainfall. The windward sides of the Western Ghats and that of Assam receive heavy rainfall during June and September whereas the southern plateau remains dry due to leeward situations along the Western Ghats.

Factors Related to Air Pressure and Wind

The following atmospheric conditions influence the weather conditions in India:

  1. Distribution of air pressure and winds on the surface of the earth.
  2. Air circulation is caused by factors controlling the global weather conditions and also the inflow of different air masses as well as jet streams.
  3. The inflow of western cyclones is known as disturbances during the winter season and tropical depressions during the southwest monsoon in India, creating weather suitable for rainfall.

Mechanism of Weather in Winter Season

Surface Pressure and Winds: In winter, the climatic conditions of India depend on the distribution of pressure in Central as well as Western Asia. The high-pressure center is developed in the region lying in the north of the Himalayas and this gives rise to the flow of air at the low level from the north towards the subcontinent. The continental winds come in contact with trade winds over north-western India.

Jet Stream and Upper Air Circulation: The westerly flow dominates the upper air circulation and western as well as central Asia remains under the influence of western winds along an altitude of 9-13 km from west to east. These are known as jet streams and are located at 27°-30° North latitude and are therefore known as subtropical westerly jet streams.

Western Cyclonic Disturbances and Tropical Cyclones: These are weather phenomena of the winter months brought by the westerly flow from the Mediterranean region and influence the weather conditions of the north and north-western regions. Tropical cyclones are part of the easterly flow and hit the coastal regions of the country.

Mechanism of Weather in Summer Season

Surface Pressure and Winds: During the summers, the sun shifts north and wind circulation over the subcontinent undergoes complete reversal at lower and upper levels. ITCZ shifts to the north by mid of July and westerly jet streaks also withdraw from the Indian region at the same time.

Jet Streams and Upper Air Circulation: An easterly jet stream flows to the southern part of the peninsula in June and has a speed of 90 km per hour. In August month, it is mostly confined to 15°N latitude, and in September to 22°N.

Easterly Jet Streams and tropical cyclones: The Easterly jet streams are responsible for tropical depressions in India and this plays a significant role in the distribution of rainfall these depressions are areas of the highest rainfall in India.

Read More: Factors Affecting Climate of India

Inter Tropical Convergence Zone

Inter Tropical Convergence Zone is a broad trough of low pressure in equatorial latitudes. The northeast and southeast trade winds converge and the air tends to ascend. The convergence zone lies almost parallel to the equator but moves north or south with the movement of the sun. Due to the shift in the ITCZ, the trade winds of the south Hemisphere tend to cross the equator between 40°E and 60°E longitude, and south-west to northeast wind starts blowing, due to the effect of the Coriolis force and giving rise to south-west monsoon. ITCZ moves to the southern hemisphere in winter and causes a reversal of winds from the northeast to the south and the southwest. These are known as northeast monsoons.

Indian Monsoon

Monsoons are experienced in tropical areas and the following are important facts on the mechanism of monsoons in India:

  1. Differential heating and cooling of land and water create a difference in pressure and movement from high pressure to low pressure.
  2. The ITCZ is positioned over Ganga in summer and is called the monsoon trough.
  3. The presence of a high-pressure area in the east of Madagascar, its position and intensity are responsible for the effect of this high pressure on the Indian monsoon.
  4. During summers, the Tibetan plateau heats up very intensely and develops low pressure over it and resulting in strong air currents vertically.
  5. Movements of westerly jet and also tropical easterly jet streams have an influence on monsoon in India.
  6. Southern Oscillations and El-Nino
    1. Change in pressure conditions in the southern ocean also influences monsoon.
    2. When the tropical eastern South Pacific Ocean experiences high pressure, the tropical eastern Indian Ocean has low pressure over it.
    3. However, in certain years there is a reversal of pressure conditions and the eastern Indian Ocean has high pressure in comparison to that of the eastern Pacific Ocean this is known as Southern Oscillations.
    4. The el-Nino phenomenon leads to the increase in sea surface temperature and therefore, weakened trade winds are there in the region.

Read More: Monsoons in India

Seasons in India

The Indian Subcontinent is divided into great latitudinal dimensions. Different seasons are there from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The meteorological department of India has recognized four seasons mostly:

  1. The cold weather season or Winter season
  2. The hot weather season or Summer Season
  3. The south-west monsoon season or Rainy season
  4. The retreating monsoon season

Read More: Seasons in India

Climatic Regions of India

India is referred to as a country with a Tropical monsoon type of climate and its large size, its latitudinal extent, the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal have resulted in variations in the distribution of temperature and precipitation throughout India and there has been an attempt to divide India into climate regions. Based on Koppen’s climatic scheme, India can be divided into 8 climatic regions:

CodeClimate TypeRegions of India
AwTropical SavannaIncludes most of the peninsular plateaus, south of the Tropic of Cancer.
AmwTropical Monsoons with the short dry seasonOn the west coast of India, south of Goa
AsTropical moistCoromandel coast of Tamil Nadu
BShwSemi-Arid steppeNorthwesternPlain Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan and Punjab
BwhwHot DesertExtreme Western Rajasthan
CwgMonsoons with dry winters

Ganga Plain, eastern Rajasthan, north Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and most of

North-east India.

DfcCold and Humid winter with short summersArunachal Pradesh
EPolar TypesJammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

FAQs on Climate of India

1. What type of Climate is in India?

The climate of India often experiences tropical monsoons and the areas between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn are referred to as tropical.

2. What is the climate of India?

The climate of India is referred to as monsoonal type. Southeast and South Asia have this monsoon type of weather and there is a presence of variation in the climate of India. The last type of fluctuation between daytime and nighttime temperature can be found in coastal areas of India.

3. What are the 6 climates of India?

The 6 climates of India include Spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, pre-winter and winter.

4. How many climates are in India?

There are four climates in India, which include winter season, summer season, rainy season and retreating monsoon season.

5. Where is good climate in India?

Good climate in India is in Hyderabad, Mysore, Pune, Nainital, Bangalore and Nashik.



Last Updated : 19 Dec, 2023
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