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On the Nature of Monsoons

August 27, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Monsoons have been around for ages. It comes from an Arabic word mausim which ultimately means season. Monsoons are traditionally categorized as seasonal storms involving reversing winds accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation. They are also categorized by the added requirement that a monsoon must be associated with seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and involve an incongruent heating of land and sea.  Hence where the name of the storm originates.

How Monsoons Work

Monsoons essentially are large scale sea breezes that interact with a land temperature that is significantly higher. This mechanism is why monsoons are so prevalent in the Arizona summer. Basically, large cold pressure systems originating near the California Coast and the Gulf Coast come in contact with the sweltering heat of the Arizona summer. As a result, monsoon storms develop. They are characterized by heavy rain fall, hot temperatures, and violent capricious winds. 

Other Areas Prone to Monsoon

This should surprise no one but many of the areas prone to monsoons are almost identical to the Arizona desert, its climate, and its proximity to large bodies of water. For instance, Sub-Saharan Africa experiences almost identical monsoon storms as our Arizona desert. Also the Southern pacific yields monsoon storms all the time. India, the Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea Branch all generate intense monsoon storms. 

How to Survive Monsoons

Simply put, stay indoors. Nothing good can be accomplished in a monsoon storm. The dust alone is enough to blind you or cause a car crash. If you encounter a monsoon head home as soon as possible to avoid the storm and remain safe from harm’s way.