Monsoons

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Heavy, drenching rains from moist air masses that move in from the ocean.

2. What time of the year do monsoons occur?

Monsoons occur primarily in Asia. Smaller monsoons take place in equatorial Africa, northern Australia, and to a lesser extent, in the southwestern United States.

Yes, they supply almost 90 percent of India's water supply. Almost half of the world's population lives in areas affected by the monsoons of Asia. Most of these people are subsistence farmers, so the coming and going of the monsoons are vital to their livelihood. Too much or too little rain from the monsoon can mean disaster in the form of famine or flood.

In summer, a high pressure area lies over the Indian Ocean, while a low exists over the Asian continent. The air masses move from the high pressure over the ocean to the low over the continent, bringing rain to south Asia.

1. Monsoon is a term originally coined by Arab mariners in reference to the seasonally shifting winds in the Indian Ocean and surrounding regions, including the Arabian Sea. These winds blow from the southwest during one half of the year and from the northeast during the other. There are, therefore, seasonal changes which are particularly noticed as northeast winds prevailing in the winter in the Indian subcontinent and southwest in the summer. Other monsoons occur in Australia and Africa. As monsoons have come to be better understood, the definition now denotes climatic systems anywhere in which the moisture increases dramatically in the warm season. The Asian monsoon, which affects the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia, is the best-known example, although monsoonal climate is also found in northern Australia, West Africa, and elsewhere. The North to South presence of the Andes prevents similar phenomena in both S. and N. America.

The monsoon is one of the most dramatic climate phenomena on the planet. The large areas involved in monsoons and

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