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Climate change is remaking South Asia’s monsoon

Climate change is remaking South Asia’s monsoon

A bad season can cut economic growth by a third

Since arriving two days late at its usual landing point at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala near India’s southern tip, South Asia’s annual summer monsoon has made up for lost time. Tearing north, the south-westerly, rain-bearing winds covered four-fifths of the country in the first two weeks of June, reaching even India’s north-easternmost states. The monsoon’s western arm has yet to reach the states of Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan. But Yogesh Patil, head of Skymet, a private weather-forecasting service, predicts that the monsoon will cover the whole country by July 8th, pretty much bang on its average date.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan are also recipients of the South Asian monsoon. It touches over 1.8bn people, or nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Though its circulation is complex, at its heart the summer monsoon is a sea breeze that operates on a season-long, continental scale. A rapidly heating Indian subcontinent causes hot air over it to rise. That draws in wetter maritime air from the Indian Ocean. As this air in turn rises, it cools and falls as rain. The northern wall of the Himalayas amplifies the effect.

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