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The Indian Monsoon Part 1: The Wind System

GREG O'HARE
Geography
Vol. 82, No. 3 (July 1997), pp. 218-230
Published by: Geographical Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40572888
Page Count: 13
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The Indian Monsoon Part 1: The Wind System
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Abstract

This article forms the first of a twopart presentation of an up-to-date analysis of the Indian monsoon. Part 1 traces the historical development of concepts related to the monsoon wind system. The lower atmospheric or lower tropospheric circulation, with surface airflows from ocean to land in summer and from land to ocean in winter is first described. This circulation is seen to be driven by the differential response of land and sea to solar heating, reinforced by latent heat release and shaped in geographic space by the rotational effect of the Earth. The lower tropospheric or thermal direct cell model is also linked with the action of the north-south migrating Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The monsoon is then described in terms of an upper tropospheric circulation composed of upper air westerlies in winter and upper air easterlies in summer. The important role which these upper tropospheric winds play in weather patterns at the surface including their effects on the strength, timing and behaviour of the surface monsoon is given. Part 2, in the next issue of Geography, analyses the rains which are associated with the monsoon wind system. Individual rainfall mechanisms including convergence, convection and orographie effects are discussed, together with rain-bearing weather systems including tropical thunderstorms and tropical cyclones. The rain bearing mechanisms are discussed in the spatial distribution of Indian rainfall over annual, seasonal and sub-seasonal timescales. Longer term inter-annual variations in Indian monsoon rainfall are also analysed in terms of their cause and impacts on society.

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