Mon­soon mech­a­nisms

De­cod­ing the in­flu­enc­ing fac­tors of the mon­soon

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE -

It is that time of the year when the sub­con­ti­nent’s most faith­ful vis­i­tor pre­pares to re­treat af­ter a four-month so­journ. The South Asian mon­soon has con­sis­tently vis­ited our land­scape for per­haps 8 mil­lion years now.In this time, it has tran­scended the iden­tity of a mere weather phe­nom­e­non and be­come a prom­i­nent fea­ture of our mythol­ogy,history,arts and cul­ture,all the while be­com­ing en­trenched in the emo­tions of bil­lions that in­habit the re­gion. It has be­come a ref­er­ence point in the cal­en­dar year—a time to re­flect on what the year has brought and what it holds for the fu­ture. So much so that to­day the mon­soon has be­come the de facto indi­ca­tor of pros­per­ity.

But in re­cent times, its per­son­al­ity has changed. It seems to have be­come more com­plex.While it still keeps its date with In­dia, it is mood­ier, an­grier and no longer as boun­ti­ful as it once was.Over 100 years of recorded data at­test to this.Ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion of its ar­rival and stay is now tainted by un­easi­ness about its tem­per­a­ment.

Lit­tle won­der close to 1,000 re­searchers from Cen­tral in­sti­tutes, be­sides nu­mer­ous uni­ver­si­ties, have been try­ing to de­code the mon­soon and its be­hav­iour. Ear­lier, the mon­soons were un­der­stood through sim­plis­tic phys­i­cal the­o­ries. Now with the ad­vent of satel­lite tech­nol­ogy and ad­vanced com­pu­ta­tion,sci­en­tists are fi­nally be­gin­ning to un­ravel the global con­nec­tions that cul­mi­nate in the In­dian rainy sea­son.But in do­ing so,cli­ma­tol­o­gists and sci­en­tists seem to have stum­bled upon a Pan­dora’s box. “The more we find out, the more we dis­cover how lit­tle we know yet,”ex­claims M Ra­jee­van,di­rec­tor of the In­dian In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Me­te­o­rol­ogy (iitm) in Pune.“The In­dian mon­soon is per­haps the world’s most com­plex cli­matic sys­tem.”

Still,years of rig­or­ous ob­ser­va­tions,the­o­ri­sa­tion and mod­el­ling beg the ques­tion of what ex­actly we know about the mon­soon.

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