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Monsoons

  • By: Dinali Nelun Fernando
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The term monsoon derives from the Arabic word for season, mausim, and refers to the seasonal reversal in atmospheric circulation and the associated precipitation in tropical and subtropical regions. Such reversal of wind direction occurs with the seasonal migration of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in conjunction with the annual north-south progression of the sun. The movement of the ITCZ induces a temperature difference between the land surface and the ocean. The resultant difference in surface pressure between the ocean and land areas fuels the monsoon winds. This entry presents a brief review of how the monsoonal regions throughout the globe are demarcated and examines in detail the characteristics of the South Asian monsoon.

Monsoonal regions are presently identified by seasonal changes in cross-equatorial flows, changes ...

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