Discuss the Mechanism of Monsoon

By Esha Dhawan|Updated : June 22nd, 2022

You must have heard that India has a monsoon type of climate. But what exactly is the monsoon and how does it work? Let’s find out.

The word Monsoon is derived from the Arabic term 'Mausam' and describes the rainy season in India. It is a meteorological phenomenon that plays a huge role in the climate of our country. Monsoons are the seasonal winds that change or reverse their direction as per the changes in the season. They start their journey during summers moving from the sea to the land and moving from land to the sea during the winter season. Thus, we can say that the monsoon is formed by a double system of seasonal winds. Furthermore, the duration of the monsoon is around 100 to 120 days beginning from early June to mid-September.

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How does the monsoon work?

Now that you have a brief idea about the climatic phenomenon, let’s discuss the mechanism of monsoon. Although the exact nature and cause of monsoon are still unknown, there are various theories explaining the phenomenon. 

During the summer season, the land is heated causing the air to rise, which further creates a low-pressure area. Moreover, during the months of April and May, the sun shines vertically over the Tropic of Cancer which leads to the northern part of the Indian ocean getting extremely heated. In contrast, this creates a high-pressure area in the Indian ocean. And air moves from the high-pressure to the low-pressure areas. Hence, the south-east winds move across the equator.

Such conditions lead to a northward shift in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ. And the continuation of the south-east winds towards the Indian sub-continent after crossing the equator is called the south-west monsoon. 


What is the mechanism of Monsoon?

The heating of the sea and the land during the summer months becomes the reason for the monsoon winds to drift over the Indian subcontinent. Since the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Cancer during the summer months, the northern part of the Indian ocean gets intensely heated causing intense low pressure in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent. 

The low pressure attracts the south-east trade winds but the winds turn right towards the low-pressure areas over the subcontinent. Further, these winds blow in a south-western direction and enter the Indian subcontinent as the southwest monsoon.


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  • The mechanism of monsoon is made up of differential cooling and heating of the land and water. The reversal of winds between the winter and summer seasons and the shifts in pressure also plays an important role in causing rainfall.

  • The low pressure at the Intertropical Convergence Zone over the northern region in May becomes intense and pulls the southern hemisphere winds in the northern direction. When these southeast winds enter the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, they are caught up in the air circulation over India. Further, the winds bring moisture when they pass over the equatorial currents.

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