Monsoon

A monsoon is a regional-scale wind that changes directions on a seasonal basis. Similar to sea-land breezes, monsoons are also caused by temperature contrasts, though on a much larger scale. Their wind flow also corresponds with the seasons. During the summer season, the continents heat up much faster than the oceans, causing the warm, moist air from the ocean to blow in from the ocean over land, creating periods of heavy rainfall. As the warm, humid air blows on shore, the moisture is condensed. This is the wet season.

The winter months have the opposite effect. The ocean surface is now warmer than the land, enabling the winter monsoons to bring clear, dry weather and winds that blow from the land out across the ocean. Monsoon circulation patterns are common in India, Australia, Africa, South America, and North America. Increases in global warming could alter these major systems, affecting areas worldwide through drought or flooding.

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