An Introduction to the Monsoon Season and Its Effects

The monsoon season is also known as the rainy season, coming about due to a shift in wind directions that bring excessive rainfall. The monsoons of South Asia are the most famous, but they also occur in North America, Africa and South America.

Throughout most of the year, in areas affected by monsoon, winds blow in the direction from the land to the ocean, keeping the air dry. However, in certain months the wind starts blowing from ocean to the land, providing a welcome relief to conditions of drought in many countries.

The primary cause of monsoon comes from global winds and air pressure, though the exact cause is still not completely understood. Monsoon season will affect Southern Asia, in particular India, most dramatically. Monsoons that take place throughout the rest of the world are smaller and less extreme.

When Is the Monsoon Season?

In general, the monsoon season of India occurs from June to September. The extent of its effects vary from place to place, including how much rain will be seen and how long periods of rain will last. These monsoons are especially useful for India, Bangladesh and Burma or Myanmar - bringing a large portion of their water supply and providing valuable water for subsistence farmers. The economy of these countries largely depends on the success of this season.

The Effects of the Monsoon

Though monsoons are often associated with devastating effects, including famine, the overall effects of the season are positive.

Drought: The countries affected by monsoon season welcome the rain as a point at which drought ends. However, if the rainfall in this season is below average then further drought can be devastating. This leads to food supplies dwindling and crops unable to grow, and many of the area's inhabitants may die of famine.

Floods: Those who make their living from the land welcome the season, where the rains will make a large contribution to the crops they produce. However, when too much rain comes in a short period of time this can cause flash floods that not only damage crops and drown livestock, but also harm inhabitants of the area. However, in less extreme forms these floods help to fertilise the soil.

Agriculture and Economy: The patterns of the monsoon have a huge impact on farmers and their crops and livestock. If the rains don't come as expected then farming patterns can be disrupted. Not to mention the effects of drought and flood, as covered above. The economy of many Indian countries greatly depends on agriculture, meaning that the disruption not only harms health and availability of food, but the economy as a whole and food prices rise dramatically.