India - Weather & Climate

Analyzed according to the K?ppen system, the climate of India resolves into six major climatic subtypes; their influences give rise to desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest, and Indian Ocean island territories that flank the Indian subcontinent. Regions have starkly different?yet tightly clustered?microclimates. The nation is largely subject to four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June to September), and a post-monsoon period (October to December).

India's geography and geology are climatically pivotal: the Thar Desert in the northwest and the Himalayas in the north work in tandem to effect a culturally and economically break-all monsoonal regime. As Earth's highest and most massive mountain range, the Himalayan system bars the influx of frigid katabatic winds from the icy Tibetan Plateau and northerly Central Asia. Most of North India is thus kept warm or is only mildly chilly or cold during winter; the same thermal dam keeps most regions in India hot in summer.

Though the Tropic of Cancer?the boundary between the tropics and subtropics?passes through the middle of India, the bulk of the country can be regarded as climatically tropical. As in much of the tropics, monsoonal and other weather patterns in India can be wildly unstable: epochal droughts, floods, cyclones, and other natural disasters are sporadic, but have displaced or ended millions of human lives. There is widespread scientific consensus that South Asia is likely to see such climatic events, along with their aleatory unpredictability, to change in frequency and are likely to increase in severity. Ongoing and future vegetative changes and current sea level rises and the attendant inundation of India's low-lying coastal areas are other impacts, current or predicted, that are attributable to global warming.
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