Climate of India

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What is the Climate of India?

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India shows a wide variation in the climatic conditions ranging from snowfall in the Himalayan arch to burning heat in the south. The Himalayas and the Thar Desert have a great influence on the overall climatic conditions of the country. The Indian subcontinent is warmer than the other areas of the same altitude because the Himalayan Mountains block the central Asian katabatic winds. On the other hand, the Thar Desert attracts the southwest summer monsoon winds that are moist and provide the required rainfall in the months from June to October. There are four principal weather and climate of India, winter, summer, monsoon, and post-monsoon.

What are the Factors Affecting the Climate of India?

1. Location

The Indian subcontinent stretches from 8°N to 37°N and is located to the north of the equator. Tropic of Cancer passes over the center of the country hence the southern areas are closer to the equator and experience higher temperatures. While the northern parts of the country experience lower temperatures comparatively. The temperatures are quite low during the winters. The presence of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, cause the right and left coasts of the country to be humid and mild. 

2. Span from the Sea

The closer the regions are to the sea, the more humid is the climate. They experience moderate summers and mild winters. However, areas situated far away from the coastline, don't have any influence on the huge water body and hence experience extreme climatic conditions. Delhi for example has an annual temperature of 20° C whereas Kochi has about an average temperature of about  30°C

 3. The Himalayan Mountains

These mountains are a climatic divider between Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. They do not allow the cold Central Asian winds to enter the continent, hence keeping it warmer than other regions. They also block south-west monsoon winds from entering the country's atmosphere.

4. Pressure and Winds 

India has northeasterly winds flowing from the subtropical high-pressure belt of North towards the equatorial low-pressure areas. These winds carry very little moisture since they flow only over land. Hence they do not bring any rain to the county. On the other hand, during winters, from the high-pressure region of the northern Himalayas, cold dry winds flow into the continent towards the South. In summers this reverses and low pressure is created in interior Asia. Hence the southwest monsoon winds are originated and because these winds flow over the warm oceans they collect moisture and bring the majority of rainfall in the country.

What do you mean by Climatic Controls? Describe India’s Climate Controls.

The factors that influence or control the contrast of weather in a particular region are called climatic controls. 

India's Climatic Controls.

  • The geographical location on the latitude of the country decides the dominant temperature of the region. As we know, the temperatures gradually reduce when we move from the equator to the poles. Since the southern states are located closer to the equator they have high temperatures and the northern states have comparatively lower temperatures. 

  • Just like the distance from the equator causes variations in temperatures, the altitude also does. Hence regions at higher altitudes in India experience cooler climatic conditions. 

  • Pressure and Winds are the major factors that influence the climate of any region. For example, the northeasterly winds and southwest monsoon winds are responsible for the monsoon in India.

  • The ocean currents flowing over a region determine the Temperature of that region, warmer ocean currents make the region warmer, whereas moist ocean currents make it cooler. 

  • The Himalayan Range is the most important relief barrier of the country. It restricts the inflow of Central Asian winds to the northern part of the peninsula,  hence keeping the temperatures warmer than other regions of Asia.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the Factors affecting the Indian monsoon, Elaborate?

Ans. The El Nino and La Lina effects are cyclic weather patterns that enable the rise and fall of temperatures and affect the rainfall of the globe. During El Nino, the monsoon winds experience a weak push toward the Indian subcontinent and hence cause low rainfall and drought-like conditions whereas during La Nina, the push to the monsoon winds stronger and causes heavy rains. High pressure in the Southern Indian Ocean and low pressure in the Tibetan plateau region cause heavy rainfall in the country. The Arabian sea-surface temperatures are greater than average and hence are held responsible for heavy rainfall in the western part of the Indian Ocean region.

Q2. How does Altitude influence the Climate of India?

Ans. India has several giant mountain ranges like the Himalayas and the Aravali. These huge structures are responsible for restricting the winds and ocean currents to flow past them. Hence they play an important role in the climatic conditions of the country. The Himalayas block the central Asian katabatic winds and hence India experiences mild winters. Also, as we move above the sea level, the temperatures start to decrease; hence altitude of a region determines the temperature of that region.

Q3. What are the Four Major Types of Climates Experienced in India?

Ans. Though most of the Indian climate information describes the weather and climate of India as 'Monsoon type', we can divide the climatic conditions in the country into 4 major seasons.

1. Winter: India experiences moderate to extreme winters from December to February. The average temperatures are around 10-15°C in the northwest. As we proceed towards the equator, the temperatures rise around 20-25°C.

2. Summer/Pre-monsoon: This season starts in March and stretches up to May, the hottest month being April with average temperatures 32-40°C. 

3. Monsoon: lasting from June to September, this season is influenced by Southwest Summer Monsoon. The northern parts receive lesser rainfall than the southern parts. 

4. Post Monsoon/ Autumn: From October to November, this season is usually cloudless, except Tamil Nadu experiences most of its rainfall during this time due to retreating monsoon.