Difference Between Advancing and Retreating Monsoon

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 28, 2022, 9:01

Monsoons denote a seasonal change in the wind pattern that causes rain. The monsoon is caused by temperature differences in the air over land and sea.

Southeast Asia and India greatly depend on the Indian monsoon for its economic needs of agriculture, irrigation systems, electricity, and hydroelectricity. The Indian Meteorological Department recognizes the months between March to May as pre-monsoon seasons, June to September as southwest monsoon season and October to December as post-monsoon seasons.

Common Features of the Indian Monsoon

Before we get on with the difference between advancing and retreating monsoon, let's first understand the features of the Indian monsoon -

  • The Indian monsoon is known for its uncertainty and variability.
  • The rainfall variability decides the duration of the monsoon at different places in the country. Contributing factors for the variability are onset, advancement, and withdrawal of monsoon.
  • Its arrival and retreat are irregular (sometimes due to the effect of El Nino). This has been a major cause of floods, droughts, and interference in farming schedules.
  • Indian monsoons may cause an alternation of dry and wet spells. These vary in frequency, duration, and intensity.
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The Difference between Advancing and Retreating Monsoon

A total of four seasons can be identified in India:

  • Winter – the season of cold weather
  • Summer – the season of hot weather
  • Rainy Season – The season of advancing monsoon
  • Transition Season – the season of retreating monsoon

The major points of difference between advancing and retreating monsoon are—

Point of difference

Advancing Monsoon

Retreating Monsoon


Advancing winds enter from the South by mid-June and move Northwards. They cover the entire subcontinent in over a month's time, except the North-West.

Retreating monsoon begins in early September in the north-western states, and by mid-October, it completely withdraws from the northern half of the Indian peninsula. By early December, monsoon retreats from the rest of the country.

Typical features

Wet and dry spells; the monsoon trough and tropical depressions.

Clear skies, high temperatures, and high humidity in Northern plains.

Rainfall Amount

High rainfall

Moderate to low rainfall

Wind movement

The wind pattern is from Sea to Land.

The winds blow from Land to Sea.

Wind type

Advancing monsoon carry moist winds

Retreating monsoon has dry winds

Wind direction

Towards North-East

Towards South-West

Affected regions

The Western and the Northeastern parts of India, Mawsynram, Khasi hills in Meghalaya receive maximum rainfall from the advancing monsoon.

The south-eastern coast-like states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu receive maximum rainfall from the retreating monsoon.

Part of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India, National Monsoon Mission was launched in 2012. Its main objective is to improve overall monsoon prediction in India through accurate seasonal, intra-seasonal, and medium-range monsoon forecasts.

The budget estimate for the mission is 290 crores. Under the Monsoon Mission, the Ministry has developed state-of-the-art climate and weather prediction models that have improved weather forecasting in all of India's States and UTs.

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FAQs on Difference Between Advancing and Retreating Monsoon

Q.1. What is the difference between the advancing and retreating monsoon's rainfall pattern?

The southeastern coast of India receives heavy rainfall during retreating monsoon. Tropical cyclones are also common during this time. The Western Ghats and the northeastern part of India receive very heavy rainfall from June to September during the advancing monsoon.

Q.2. What is the difference between advancing and retreating monsoon?

While advancing monsoon starts in the nucleus of the Indian monsoon season, i.e., June to September, retreating monsoon occurs from October to November is the difference between advancing and retreating monsoon.

Q.3. Why is it significant to learn about the difference between advancing and retreating monsoon in India?

The Indian economy is significantly dependent on the monsoon season for its agriculture, irrigation, and hydroelectricity, and advancing monsoon brings maximum rainfall throughout India. The question is also frequently asked in the UPSC examination's Geography section.

Q.4. How does the difference between advancing and retreating monsoon affect the rainfall in Indian states?

The state of Tamil Nadu receives the maximum rainfall from retreating monsoon, and the states of North East India and the Western Ghats receive maximum rainfall from advancing monsoon.