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Write a short note on the Southwest Monsoon and the Northeast Monsoon

Last Updated : 21 Jan, 2024
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Monsoon can be defined as the change in the direction of winds and currents in a region, leading to the formation of clouds and precipitation. Monsoon is a seasonal phenomenon. The monsoon winds generally blow from cold to warm areas. The monsoon in Asia can be classified into Southwest Monsoon and Northeast Monsoon.

India receives Southwest monsoon winds in summer and Northeast monsoon during winter. The Southwest monsoon arises because of the formation of an intense low-pressure system over the Tibetan plateau. The Northeast monsoon arises due to high-pressure cells that are formed over the Siberian and Tibetan plateaus.

Northeast Monsoon and Southwest Monsoon

Northeast Monsoon and Southwest Monsoon

Southwest Monsoon

These monsoons are also known as southwestern summer monsoons. They occur between the months of July and September. During the Summer times, the Thar desert and central India gets heated up which causes a low pressure to be formed over northern and central India. Due to the low pressure, the moist water vapor-rich air moves towards central and northern India. This moisture-rich air moves toward the Himalayas. The Mighty Mountains act as a barrier and block the paths of these winds. As these winds rise the temperature decreases and causes cloud formation and precipitation. 

Factors that influence the onset of the Southwest Monsoon are mostly intense low-pressure formation over the Tibetan Plateau, permanent high-pressure cells in the South of the Indian Ocean, subtropical jet stream, African Easterly Jet, and Inter- Tropical Convergence Zone.

They generally start at the beginning of July and end towards the end of September. When they reach the last point in its path they are divided into two parts the Bay of Bengal Branch and the Arabian Sea Branch. This specific monsoon accounts for around 80 percent of the total rainfall in India. The agricultural sector in India is highly dependent on this monsoon. This monsoonal rainfall is a by-product of air passing over large areas of the warm equatorial ocean, stimulates increased evaporation, cools as it moves north and as it rises over the land; as at some point it is not able to retain moisture and precipitation starts, used for irrigation of rice fields and drench rainforests, sometimes even leading to floods.

 Northeast Monsoon

In September when the sun returns to the south there is a rapid and huge decrease in temperature in northern India. This causes the pressure in this region to drop whereas the temperatures of the Indian Ocean and the surrounding areas are relatively high. Due to this pressure difference, the cold winds move from the Himalayas towards the Deccan peninsular. These monsoons are also known as Retreating Monsoon

The factors which are responsible for the formation of NE Monsoons are the formation and strength of high-pressure cells over the Tibetan and Siberian Plateaus during winters, the migration of Inter- Tropical Convergence Zone to the south of India, and high- pressure cells in the southern Indian Ocean migrating to west and weakening.

When it is moving towards the destination the initially dry winds pick up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and lose directions seaside in the form of rain in the Indian Peninsular and Sri Lanka. The rainfall from this monsoon is mostly received by Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. 

Southwest Monsoon vs Northeast Monsoon

Southwest Monsoon

Northeast Monsoon

These monsoon winds travel from the Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal to the northern and central directions.  These monsoon winds blow from the northeast side to the seaside.
The monsoons are in effect from July and September.  These winds are in effect from October to November.
They are the main source of rainfall in the entire country. The precipitation from these winds is received only in parts of Tamil Nadu and the Eastern Ghats.
They are known as southwestern summer monsoons. These monsoons are also known as Retreating Monsoons. 
These Winds account for 80 percent of the total rainfall. These winds account for 20 percent of the total rainfall.

Read Further

  1. Characteristics and effects of monsoons in India
  2. How is monsoon known for its uncertainties?
  3. Burst of monsoon and break of monsoon
  4. Mechanism of monsoons

FAQs on Southwest Monsoon and Northeast Monsoon

Que 1. What is the difference between southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon?

Answer-

The difference between southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon is that southwest monsoon refers to the monsoons in summer from the South-west direction, whereas northeast monsoon enters India from the northeast direction and can be known as winter monsoon.

Que 2. What is the Southwest Monsoon in India?

Answer-

The Southwest Monsoon is rainy season from June to September and is the primary rainy season. It holds over the country during the summer monsoon season. At present, country receives nearly 75 percent of it’s annual rainfall.

Que 3. Southwest Monsoon doesn’t give rainfall to which area?

Answer-

Tamil Nadu receives less rainfall by Southwest Monsoon because Western Ghats blocks the southwest monsoon winds blow over the state. Coimbatore plateau receives only 50 cm of rain while Nilgiri receives 50 cm to 100 cm of rains.

Que 4: How does the Northeast Monsoon Work?

Answer-

In September when the sun returns to the south there is a rapid and huge decrease in temperature in northern India. This causes the pressure in this region to drop whereas the temperatures of Indian Ocean and the surrounding areas is relatively high. Due to this pressure difference the cold winds move from the Himalayas towards the Deccan peninsular. When it is moving towards the destination the originally dry winds pick up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and loose it in the form of rain in the Indian Peninsular and Sri Lanka.



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