American monsoons

The South American Monsoon is a key factor in Brazil's weather patterns. Seasonal winds from the Atlantic bring summertime rains that feed the Amazon basin. They also frequently bring flooding to Rio de Janeiro.

The North American monsoon begins in late June and ends in September. It blows from the Pacific Ocean onto Mexico is a relatively weaker version of the Indian monsoon. It is an invasion of humid air that brings thunderstorms. The North American monsoon is sometime called the Summer Monsoon, Mexican Monsoon, Southwest Monsoon, Desert Monsoon, or the Arizona Monsoon. It begins in the south off of the coast of Mexico. It soon affects areas such as the region of Guadalajara. As the Mexican Monsoon spreads, it affects the Sierra Madre Occidental, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, West Texas, and California. In California, it brings moisture-laden winds to the Peninsular Ranges and the Transverse Ranges in Southern California.

As the Desert Monsoon, it brings up to 70 percent of the rain that falls in the Mohave and Sonoran Deserts. Compared to the Sahara, these deserts appear wet. In the upper elevations, the rains also bring moisture that mitigates the summer temperatures with its natural drying effects. Oddly, while reducing drought conditions, the monsoon rains can increase wintertime plant growth, which, in turn, provides fuel for wildfires. The thunderstorms over the Grand Canyon or in the high mountains can create hazards from flash floods. Or, lightening can strike to begin fires or to injure or kill the unwary.

sEE ALsO: Hurricanes and Typhoons; India; Rain; Rainfall Patterns; Thunderstorms.

bibliography. C.P. Chang, Monsoon Meterology (Oxford University Press, 1985); Motoi Ichihara, Monsoon (Edition Stemmle, 1999); J.J. Lighthill and R.P. Pearce, Monsoon Dynamics (Cambridge University Press, 1981); Steve McCurry, Monsoon (Thames & Hudson, 1988); C.S. Ramage,

Monsoon Meterology (Elsevier Science & Technology Books, 1971); R.R. Rawson, The Monsoon Lands of Asia (Transaction Publishers, 2007); I-Hui Ting and Yihui Ding Yihui, Monsoons over China (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993); Bin Wang, Asian Monsoon (Springer-Verlag, 2006).

Andrew J. Waskey Dalton State College

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