Natural Vegetation of India

Describe the regional variations in the climatic conditions of India with the help of suitable examples. Despite the overall unity accorded by the monsoon, there are visible regional variations in climatic conditions within India. Regardless of the moderating influences of the Himalayas in the north and the sea in the south, variations do exist in temperature, humidity and precipitation. For example, in summer, some parts of the Rajasthan desert, in north-western India, record temperatures of 50°C, while it may be around 20°C in Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir, in the north of the country.
On a winter night, the temperature at Drass in Jammu and Kashmir may be as low as minus 45°C, while Thiruvananthapuram may have a temperature of 22°C. In general, coastal areas experience less contrasts in temperature conditions. Seasonal contrasts are more in the interior of the country. Another case in point is precipitation. While precipitation is mostly in the form of snowfall in the upper parts of the Himalayas, it rains over the rest of the country. The annual precipitation varies from over 400 cm in Meghalaya to less than 10 cm in Ladakh and western Rajasthan.
Most parts of the country receive rainfall from June to September, but some parts like the Tamil Nadu coast get most of their rain during October and November. Discuss the mechanism of monsoons. During summer, a low-pressure area develops over interior Asia as well as over north and north-western India. At the same time, there is a high-pressure system over the southern Indian Ocean. Winds move from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area. As a result, the low-pressure system attracts the southeast trade winds of the southern hemisphere.

On crossing the equator, these trade winds—due to the Coriolis force—turn right towards the low-pressure areas over the Indian subcontinent. After crossing the equator, these winds start blowing in a south-westerly direction, and enter the Indian peninsula as the southwest monsoon. As these winds blow over warm oceans, they bring abundant moisture to the subcontinent. Arriving at the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, the wind system breaks up into two branches ? the Arabian Sea branch and the Bay of Bengal branch.
The Arabian Sea branch hits the Western Ghats, while the Bay of Bengal branch flows over the Bay of Bengal and hits the eastern Himalayas. The coastal areas west of the Western Ghats receive much of the rainfall from the Arabian Sea Branch, while the regions lying east of the Western Ghats do not receive much rain from these winds. The north-eastern parts of the country receive much of their rainfall from the Bay of Bengal Branch. As these winds move from east to west, the moisture they carry progressively declines. As a result, rainfall decreases from east to west.
The Arabian Sea branch moves towards the north-east from the south-west, and joins the Bay of Bengal branch over the northern part of the country. The duration of the monsoon is between 100 to 120 days. By the end of this period, the low pressure system over north and north-west India gradually weakens, and this leads to the retreat of the monsoon winds. Give an account of weather conditions and characteristics of the cold season. The Cold Weather Season Beginning from mid-November, the winter season lasts till February. The weather is usually marked by clear sky, low temperatures and low humidity, and feeble and variable winds.
The temperature decreases from the south to the north, with the peninsular region not showing any noticeable seasonal change in temperature pattern due to the moderating influence of the sea. The coldest months are December and January. The days are generally warm and the nights are cold. Frost is common in the north and the higher slopes of the Himalayas experience snowfall. During this season, the sub-tropical westerly jet streams blowing south of the Himalayas bring in cyclonic disturbances from the Mediterranean region. These cause winter rains over the plains and snowfall in the mountains.
The Tamil Nadu coast also receives winter rainfall due to the blowing of the north-east trade winds from sea to land. Give the characteristics and effects of the monsoon rainfall in India. Characteristics of monsoon rainfall in India: (i) The duration of the monsoon is between 100 to 120 days from early June to mid-September. (ii) Around the time of its arrival, the normal rainfall increases suddenly and continues for several days. This is known as the ‘burst’ of the monsoon. (iii) The monsoon has characteristic wet and dry spells or ‘breaks’ in rainfall.
The monsoon rains take place only for a few days at a time. They are interspersed with rainless intervals. (iv) The moisture is carried by pulsating south westerlies that are affected by different atmospheric conditions, thereby giving monsoon rains an uncertain character. The annual rainfall is highly variable from year to year (v) The rainfall is unevenly distributed across the Indian landscape. Parts of the western coast and north-eastern India receive the maximum rainfall. Regions such as parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Leh and the leeward side of the Western Ghats receive very little rainfall.
Effects of monsoon rainfall in India: (a) Indian agriculture is largely dependent upon the water from the monsoon rains. Late, low or excessive rains have a negative impact upon crops. (b) Due to the uneven distribution of rainfall across the country, there are some regions that are drought prone and some that are flood afflicted. (c) The monsoon provides India with a distinct climatic pattern. Hence, in spite of the presence of great regional variations, it has a unifying influence upon the country and its people.

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