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India climate
Photographic Book India

Because of the peninsularity, unusual topography, and geographical position of India, climatic conditions are widely diversified, on both a seasonal and regional basis. The diversity ranges from tropical to temperate zonal extremes; the temperature extremes are confined largely to the slopes of the Himalaya. Except in the more mountainous regions, most of the rest of India has a uniformly tropical climate. Seasonal variations, resulting from the south-western and north-eastern monsoons, profoundly influence temperature, humidity, and precipitation throughout the subcontinent. For general purposes, the seasons of India may be classified as rainy and dry. The rainy season, which generally extends from June to November, is the season of the south-western monsoon, a moisture-laden wind blowing off the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

India climatic map
India climate
India climatic map. Encarta
Beginning early in June on the western coast of the peninsula, the monsoon gradually affects almost the entire country. During this season, rainfall can be very heavy—along the slopes of the Western Ghats it often reaches more than 3,175 mm (125 in). Cherrapunji in the Khasi Hills of north-eastern India ranks as one of the wettest places on Earth—the village received a record-breaking 22,987 mm (905 in) of rain in 1861 and its average yearly rainfall is about 10,920 mm (430 in). The nearby village of Mawsynram holds the record of the world’s highest average annual rainfall with 11,873 mm (467 in) a year. Mean annual precipitation along the southern slopes of the Himalaya is about 1,525 mm (60 in).

The south-western monsoon fails at times, causing droughts and occasionally famine. However, the rains are a mixed blessing. They lead to the proliferation of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, while the contrast between day- and night-time temperatures encourages respiratory disorders. Normally, the power of the monsoon diminishes in September.

The cool season of the north-eastern monsoon, extending from early December until after the end of February, is usually accompanied by extremely dry weather—although severe storms, attended by slight precipitation on the northern plains and heavy snowfalls in the Himalaya, sometimes cross the country. The hot season, beginning about the middle of March and extending until the onset of the south-western monsoon, is most oppressive during May, when temperatures as high as 51.7° C (125° F) are not uncommon in central India. In the vicinity of Kolkata, the mean annual temperature is about 26.1° C (79° F). The mean annual temperature in the west-central coastal region of the peninsula is about 27.8° C (82° F).

Around Chennai (formerly Madras) temperatures range between about 24.4° and 33.3° C (76° to 92° F), with an annual mean of about 28.9° C (84° F)."India," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2008
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