Climate Change

Clouds of confusion over monsoon's timely arrival

While extended range forecast shows some signs of an early onset, other meteorological conditions have shrouded the forecast in uncertainty

 
By Shreeshan Venkatesh
Last Updated: Monday 14 May 2018
Credit: Simon Asia / Flickr
Credit: Simon Asia / Flickr Credit: Simon Asia / Flickr

The Indian summer monsoon typically makes its way to Indian subcontinent via Kerala by the end of May. With less than three weeks to go, there is little clarity on when exactly the monsoon will arrive this year and how it will progress thereafter. While extended range forecast models show some signs of an early onset, other meteorological conditions surrounding the monsoon have shrouded the forecast in uncertainty.

The winds that usher in the monsoon in India arrive from the east in the equatorial belt of the southern Indian Ocean. As the winds approach the Africa’s east coast and cross the equator into the northern hemisphere, a change in direction is affected and the winds become westerly—they flow from the west. Accumulating moisture from the Indian Ocean, the winds enter India through Kerala and proceed to cover the country over June and July. Simultaneously, the westerlies also take a circuitous path around the country and over the Bay of Bengal to bring rainfall to the northeastern parts of the country.

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